Gamma Iota Sigma is a registered 501(c)(3) educational organization and is the only international business fraternity for students studying insurance, risk management and actuarial science. GIS pursues a mission to promote and encourage student interest in the industry as a profession while encouraging the high moral and scholastic attainments of its members. Since its incorporation in 1965, GIS has chartered 70 chapters across North America and boasts an annual membership of nearly 4,000 students with an alumni population of over 22,000, including twelve active alumni chapters in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Des Moines, Houston, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Richmond, South Bend/Indianapolis, and Los Angeles.
The idea of a national scholastic insurance fraternity actually started to become a reality when the Griffith Foundation for Insurance Education filed for incorporation in 1965. The following year, the OSU Insurance Society, which started at The Ohio State University in the early 1960’s, petitioned and was chartered as the first Gamma Iota Sigma Chapter, thereafter called Alpha Chapter. At Bowling Green State University, Beta Chapter received its charter in 1967, and in 1969, the University of Cincinnati was chartered as Gamma Chapter. There’s the beginning of what has now grown into a nucleus of 65 chapters located from California to Connecticut, and from Canada to Florida.
A Grand Chapter or Executive Committee of Gamma Iota Sigma was formed from the original fraternity planning committee, appointed by the Griffith Foundation.
The first Grand Chapter President was Warren L. Weeks, then a Griffith Foundation trustee. It was his commitment to the concept of a national student organization that lead to the eventual formation of Gamma Iota Sigma. (There currently exists a Warren L. Weeks, Sr. Scholarship presented each year to a student member. Nominations for the award are made by local chapters.)
The rationale behind establishing a national student organization, as envisioned by the founders was:
- A national fraternity has more prestige than a local society or club;
- It would facilitate communication and participation with chapter members throughout the country;
- By combining with others, the impact of the fraternity name as a visible entity would be enhanced;
- By emphasizing scholarship and leadership qualities, ties between the college membership and industry leaders would be developed; and
- There would be a synergism of academic creativity beyond the boundaries of any given university.
The Annual Management Conference was first held in 1973. Since then, many of the local chapters have hosted the conference at least once and it continues to grow year after year with over 575 students from 53 colleges in attendance in 2015.
The Grand Chapter, initially consisting solely of Griffith Foundation trustees, has now evolved to a distinctly separate organization of insurance professionals and insurance educators from across the country.