In the early 1950's, Jack Anderson, a member of the executive committee of the Rutgers Alumni Association, proposed the establishment of the Loyal Sons of Rutgers Award to honor RAA officers for their extraordinary service to their Alma Mater. In 1957-1958, RAA President Henry W. Balfour '29 appointed a committee to draft the criteria for the award and nominate the first honorees. Along with Anderson, the committee membership included John P. Kirkwood '31; Sol Seid '36; Howard B. Twitchell '36; and Alumni Secretary Rober Collett '35, ex officio.
The first Loyal Son of Rutgers Awards were presented at the RAA's Midyear Alumni Luncheon in February 1958, when 109 former and current officers and trustees received the Loyal Son pin. The award criteria were later expanded to admit any individual who had rendered extraordinary service to the University community. In 1966, during the University's Bicentennial year, the RAA chose a new setting for the presentation of the awards. Instead of a slot in the schedule at the annual Midyear Family Day luncheon, the Loyal Son of Rutgers Award ceremony took place at a special dinner celebration, presided over by then RAA President William H. Bauer '42. Extraordinary service to Alma Mater has been honored annually without interruption; over 500 alumni have been so recognized.
In 1986, the "Loyal Daughter" designation was added to recognize the change in the Rutgers constituency and to honor the significant contributions of women during the history of the RAA. The first recipients were Elizabeth W. Durham DC'22, longtime member of the Department of Alumni Relations, and Melanie L. Willoughby RC'76. Melanie was subsequently elected president of the Rutgers Alumni Association, and served as an alumni trustee of the University.
Five year anniversaries of the award have been marked with special recognition for life long service. Prior recipients of this recognition have included Jack Anderson '38; Floyd Bragg '36; Vince Kramer '41; and Sol Seid '36. In 1998, the Loyal Sons and Daughters Committee honored William H. MacKenzie RC'49 and Bert Manhoff RC'48 on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the award.