The society was initiated by a group of renal pathologists (Jay Bernstein, P. Burkholder, J. Churg, R. Cotran, F. Cuppage, D. Jones, M. Kashgarian, J. Kissane, K. Mostofi, and G. Striker), acting in large measure at the instigation of Conrad Pirani who served as acting chairman. They met on November 20, 1977, during the American Society of Nephrology meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel, to consider the creation of a renal pathologists' organization. Fred Silva assisted as secretary. The Renal Pathology Club was then born which organized conferences for over 10 years at the annual American Society of Nephrology (ASN), the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), and the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) meetings.
Some years later, a steering committee was appointed to oversee the transition from club to society. Jay Bernstein, Frank A. Carone, Arthur H. Cohen, Robert B. Colvin, Ramzi Cotran, M.D., Vivette D'Agati, Gloria R. Gallo, Gary S. Hill, J. Charles Jennette, Michael Kashgarian, Vivian Pinn-Wiggins, H.G. Rennke, Seymour Rosen, Benjamin Spargo, Liliane M. Striker, and M.A. Venkatachalam, participated in the transition and the Renal Pathology Club became the Renal Pathology Society in March, 1993. Members of the Renal Pathology Club automatically became charter members of the new Renal Pathology Society.
The first RPS president was Gloria Gallo and the first secretary was J. Charles Jennette. RPS has currently over 400 registered members from over 30 countries and all continents: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Netherlands, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Venezuela.