The Distinguished Service Award was initiated in 1971 to recognize those members who have devoted years of service to Eta Kappa Nu, resulting in significant benefits to all of the society's members. The award is based on lifetime contributions to Eta Kappa Nu and is limited to one recipient each year.
Inspiration for the Award dates back to 1939 when Maurice Carr, the founder of HKN, wrote, "Eta Kappa Nu grew because there always have been many embers who were willing and eager to serve it loyally and unselfishly. I would like to see some form of recognition conferred upon members who have rendered such service to HKN."
Implementation is a continuous process based on nominations received from HKN members.