Lambda Alpha International

2020 will mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of LAI. In 1930, a group of students at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, formed Lambda Alpha -- a fraternity to honour and engage with the teachings of renown economist Richard T. Ely. In the years since, LAI has changed, grown and diversified becoming a leading global, multi-disciplinary, honorary Society for land economics. 30 chapters in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, India and Japan constitute an international federation devoted to connecting professionals, sharing knowledge and advancing best practices. ;xNLx;To mark the anniversary, we have begun to assemble a history of LAI using an online timeline. It provides context for the reading of LAI history, but also provides a framework into which additional relevant information can be placed. This new LAI timeline constitutes a significant contribution to the ability of our members to not only learn, but also to contribute to the ongoing development of, the history of our Society.;xNLx;As you will see, the timeline not only highlights significant events in the history of LAI, but provides a means to capture, store and present pictures and stories of the people that have over the years contributed to the making of the Society. For new members especially, the timeline offers an opportunity to learn about the Society in which they have become life-long members and to readily appreciate its values and traditions.;xNLx;The timeline will also allow for the stories of our many Chapters to be told. Parallel timelines can offer individual Chapters the ability to build their own timelines with links to the LAI timeline. All Chapters are invited to participate in the ongoing development of the timeline by assembling a history of the Chapter with dates, names, events and pictures. It is quite easy to build and edit a timeline directly. ;xNLx;I close by sincerely thanking Christine Williams and those who supported this significant effort. It is a most valuable contribution to the betterment of our Society. ;xNLx;Robert McBride, MLAI, P.Eng., RPP;xNLx;LAI International President 2018-2019;xNLx;

1930-11-05 00:00:00


A group of men majoring in the Land Economics and Real Estate curriculum at Northwestern University, students of Richard T. Ely, sought to supplement their classroom experience with discussions of issues and solutions related to land use. An organizational meeting for International Fraternity of Lambda Alpha was held on the downtown Chicago campus of Northwestern University. Jack J. Harrington Jr., who became Lambda Alpha's first International President, joined other founders James N. Massey, George R. Stone, Adrian D. Theobald, and Gordon Thompson at this historic meeting.

1931-02-20 00:00:00


In a letter to James N. Massey, the honorary professional fraternity is formally recognized by Northwestern University. Its members adopt a constitution, ritual, and key.

1931-03-29 00:00:00

Initiation Ritual

Original initiation ritual explains the land economics roots of new fraternity.

1931-03-29 00:00:00

Richard T. Ely / First Honorary Members

The honorary professional fraternity is formally recognized by Northwestern University, and its members adopt a constitution, ritual, and key. Professor Richard T. Ely is initiated and becomes the fraternity's first honorary member. As a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Ely was the inspiration for Lambda Alpha. At the time of his initiation, he was Director of the Institute for Research in Land Economics and Public Utilities at Northwestern University.

1931-05-19 14:06:19

Richard T. Ely "Heartened" by Fraternity

In a letter addressed to founder Adrian D. Theobald, Richard T. Ely (Director, Institute for Research in Land Economics and Public Utilities) writes: "I do not know when anything has been done that has heartened me so much as the activities of our Lambda Alpha Fraternity. It makes me look forward with more confidence for the future than I would otherwise have."

1931-07-01 00:00:00

First International President

Jack J. Harrington, Jr.

1933-07-01 00:00:00

Richard E. Weiss

Enter story info here

1934-01-01 16:30:17


Lambda Alpha reorganizes to have chapters in various cities consisting of qualified men who were engaged in some business aspect of land use, making the organization international in scope.

1934-07-01 00:00:00

Burton Rubloff

Burton Rubloff is International President.

1935-07-01 00:00:00

Robert B. Whitaker

New President Robert B. Whitaker has Wisconsin roots.

Lambda Alpha International

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