April, 23, 2019
PLS  >  History


The purpose of Phi Lambda Sigma, also known as the national Pharmacy Leadership Society, is to promote the development of leadership qualities, especially among pharmacy students. By peer recognition, the Society encourages participation in all pharmacy activities. Since membership crosses fraternal and organizational lines, the Society does not compete with other pharmacy organizations.

Phi Lambda Sigma honors leadership. Members are selected by peer recognition. No greater honor can be bestowed upon an individual than to be recognized as a leader by one’s peers. Such recognition instills and enhances self-confidence, encourages the less active student to a more active role and promotes greater effort toward the advancement of pharmacy.

Phi Lambda Sigma was organized in March, 1965 by then student Charlie Thomas on the campus of Auburn University, with the approval of the faculty of the School of Pharmacy. Following a two-year probationary period, the Auburn University Student Senate granted a charter to the Society on October 3, 1967. The Phi Lambda Sigma National Fraternity was legally incorporated in Lee County, Alabama on June 28, 1968. That same year, the name “Phi Lambda Sigma” was registered with the U.S. Bureau of Patents and Copyrights in Washington, D.C., and an official key was designed by the Balfour Company. The National Office was moved from Auburn University to Atlanta, Georgia in 1992. In 1996, Phi Lambda Sigma contracted with the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy for administration of the Society, and the National Office was relocated from Atlanta to the campus of the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1999 the Society relocated to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy where it makes its current home


Founded in 1965, through the creative imagination of Alabama Pharmacist Charlie Thomas, then a student at Auburn University School of Pharmacy, Phi Lambda Sigma celebrates many years of leadership recognition. Believing that leaders needed recognition for their contributions to our profession, the Alpha chapter of Auburn University was chartered in 1965 and thus began the tradition that is Phi Lambda Sigma today. The membership of the society is rich in leadership diversity and values the enduring support of the many friends, deans, advisors, faculty, alumni and student members. We are thankful to our founder for having the vision and dedication to leadership that allows us to recognize those individuals who have accepted the responsibility for leadership to this grand old profession…Pharmacy.


Like many national associations, Phi Lambda Sigma operates through a system of local Chapters. Phi Lambda Sigma Chapters are designated by Greek letter. As of 2011, a Phi Lambda Sigma Chapter has been chartered at 103 of the 125 schools and colleges of pharmacy in the United States and Puerto Rico.


Membership in Phi Lambda Sigma consists of four categories: student, faculty, alumni and honorary. For a student to be eligible for membership, he or she shall be of high moral and ethical character, shall have successfully completed at least one professional year of scholastic work applicable toward a recognized pharmacy degree, and shall have a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 on a 4.00 grading scale, or comparable academic acheivement based on a chapter's grading guidelines.  Any exception must comply with the Constitution and Bylaws of Phi Lambda Sigma. Nomination for all membership categories emanates from the present members of the Society. Prospective members are nominated on the basis of their demonstration of dedication, service and leadership in the advancement of pharmacy. By promoting such recognition, Phi Lambda Sigma provides an incentive for the development of future leadership potential for the profession.

Phi Lambda Sigma Information Brochure