Our chapter enjoyed a 100% acceptance rate this year, with a total of 52 students invited and elected out of a class of 466. We also received the wonderful news that Occidental alumnus class of 1960 and PBK Junior Phi Bete, Robert Merriman Ruenitz, has given Occidental College $320,000 to establish the Phi Beta Kappa Speakers Forum, a new program to bring a provocative speaker to the campus each spring. The purpose of the grant is twofold: to create an opportunity for student academic leaders (Junior Phi Betes) from various disciplines to know each other better and craft their own unique event; and to bring a speaker to campus who will spark discussion possibly leading to action beyond the normal academic experience.
Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to share news about our chapter's activities!
Our chapter is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. As part of our celebrations, we will be honoring, Dee Abrahamse, a former President of our Chapter and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts here at CSULB, for all of her great support of our chapter and its activities.
We continue to induct approximately 35 students each year (typically 25 graduating seniors and 10 juniors and non-graduating seniors). Approximately 400 students are invited to apply for membership based on the minimum GPA requirements. Usually about 100 of these students apply, and we accept around 35 students. Thirty new members (18 seniors and 12 juniors) were inducted in 2006, however.
Our main activity as a chapter is the annual banquet, where we initiate the students who have been selected for that year. This banquet is a highlight of the campus calendar. The President, Provost, and the Deans of the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics are always in attendance. As a chapter, we proudly pay for the banquet for all of the initiates. The initiates bring with them family and friends, making the banquet a wonderful way to honor our amazing initiates. Also in attendance are the faculty sponsors for each initiate. The banquet is a special night for a truly exceptional group of students.
We are able to award two scholarships each year. One is the Roberta Markman Scholarship, which is named after Professor Roberta Markman, our Chapter's first President. In 2004, we awarded the Markman Scholarship to Eric Sundberg, who is currently attending Stanford Medical School. Our 2005 Markman Scholarship winner, Chhunny Chhean, is attending UCLA law school. The 2006 Markman Scholarship winner is Lyn Taylor Peyton, a Psychology major.
The Southern California Association provides the other scholarship, which our Chapter awarded to Sarah Wilkins in 2004. Ms. Wilkins began Duke Medical School in Fall 2004. Our 2005 recipient, Laura Pomella is currently enrolled in an MA program in Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The 2006 recipient is Janna Stansell, a Psychology major, who plans to enroll in a Masters of Public Health program.
Our chapter has unanimously decided to award Dr. F. King Alexander an honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa for his years of dedication to liberal arts and sciences as a college administrator and as a researcher and practitioner involved in the issues of curriculum and funding of higher education. Dr. Alexander became the President of our campus in January 2006. We have received enthusiastic support for his induction from St. Lawrence University (New York), where Dr. Alexander graduated as an undergraduate majoring in Political Science. We will be inducting President Alexander at our annual banquet along with the 30 new student initiates on Friday, May 12, 2006 here on the campus of California State University, Long Beach.
In order to increase our presence on campus (beyond the faculty involved in Phi Beta Kappa and the college administration, who are well aware of our activities), we have just formed the Phi Beta Kappa Student Organization. Our chapter Vice President, Professor Bill Kelemen (Psychology), is the faculty sponsor. The group will investigate the possibility of hosting on-campus activities, such as a speaker series on the role and status of liberal arts education in American society, campus debates about contemporary issues and controversies, and an information and film series.
In many ways, then, our chapter is much like other Phi Beta Kappa chapters. As one of only three California State University campuses to have a chapter and as a university comprised largely of first-generation college students, we believe that our chapter provides us to highlight and reward the efforts and accomplishments of a truly exceptional group of students.
, Ph.D., Chapter President and Chair, Election Committee
Mills College has had a 100% acceptance rate of those elected to PBK in the years 2003-2005: six in 2003, eight in 2004, and eleven in 2005.
In March 2003, Zeta Chapter welcomed Visiting Scholar, Hal Abelson.
Submitted by Dawn D. Schrey Colvin on behalf of Mary-Ann Milford, Chapter Secretary.
SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY, PI CHAPTER
In the year 2003-2004, Pi Chapter initiated 54 seniors (15 men and 39 women). The initiation speaker, Dr. Frederick Parrella, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, gave a speech entitled, "Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio? Education in a Postmodern Age."
In 2004-2005, 38 seniors were initiated (14 men and 24 women). Dr. Michael Krasny, was the initiation speaker. Dr. Krasny, Professor of English, San Francisco State University and Host of "Forum" on KQED-FM spoke on "Honor and Competition."
Visiting Scholar, Dr. George Bass, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University spoke on "Two Bronze Age Shipwrecks." A pioneer in the field of underwater archaeology, Professor Bass is a recipient of the National Medal of Science.
To honor a deceased co-founder of our chapter and to acknowledge students interested in teaching at the K-12 level, we present each year the "David Logothetti Award" to the graduating initiate judged to be the most outstanding future teacher.
, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
Alpha of California at UC Berkeley is a fairly low-profile chapter. Our main activity is a fellowship program for Ph.D. candidates who are completing their dissertations. Last year we were able to offer five awards of $4000 each; these were matched by the Northern California Association, which also funded five fellowships of $4000 each.
As it has throughout the country, our induction rate has dropped for the past few years. I find many students are unaware of PBK, and others (this being a public institution) have trouble finding the increased membership fee of $85. Last year, the 305 new initiates represented 59.4 percent of eligible students (top 10% of graduating class plus 20 juniors and 2-3 Ph.D.s who were nominated). Those who do accept their invitations prove very grateful and excited about the honor.
, Office Manager
The Xi of California Chapter at the University of Redlands is about to induct its largest class of members-in-course in history, 69 students. At this writing, we have 64, who have accepted membership, and five from whom I have not yet heard. One of the things that distinguishes our chapter is the amount of effort that goes into the selection process, and the hunting down of the nominees for members-in-course. Our selection committee goes through each student's transcript blind: counting the number of liberal arts units earned, and noting such things as GPA (earned here versus tranferred in if it's an issue), breadth of study, depth of study, unique and wide-ranging double-major or major/minor combinations, study abroad, extra languages, and any instances where students seemed to have challenged themselves by taking courses outside their chosen majors which went beyond what was required for a general education requirement; an extra language, or an upper level class in a discipline that was not their major. It takes several weeks of work, and six hours of meetings to create the list of nominees.
Having invested that time, we are loath to have anyone turn us down. Thus, after the invitations go out, the list of nominees is distributed to the faculty to help encourage those nominated to respond affirmatively to the invitation. The fact that I only have five to hear from, two of whom are winter graduates who no longer reside on campus, is a wonderful testament to the value the faculty place on their students' membership.
In conjunction with our initiation ceremony, we sponsor an essay contest, which carries two cash prizes: $500 for the best research paper (underwritten by the Fortnightly Club in Redlands) and a $300 cash prize for the best general essay (underwritten by an alumnus). The contest is open to any currently enrolled undergraduate, and the awards are handed out at the induction ceremony.
We wanted to start an undergraduate research symposium, but when we asked our Dean's office for some start-up funds, they liked the idea so much that they just took it over. We see our challenge now as finding a way to increase our visibility to the students before the end of the year.
Steve Morics, Chapter Secretary
The numbers of students initiated into Mu Chapter were: 323 in 2003, 340 in 2004, 312 in 2005, and 340 in 2006. On June 1-2, 2006 the campus hosted as a PBK Visiting Scholar Dr. Laura H. Greene, the Swanlund Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences. The current President of Mu Chapter is Professor Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor of Social Ecology, who led this year's initiation ceremonies on June 15, 2006, at 12:00 noon in the Bren Events Center.
Alex A. Maradudin, Ph.D., Department of Physics and Astronomy
Eta Chapter of California reports a PBK membership acceptance rate of approximately 50% --going back twenty years. In 2005, the rate increased to 65% with 462 acceptances out of 712 elections. In 2004, 635 students were elected and 55% accepted. In 2003, 490 were elected and 50% accepted.
The 2006 initiation ceremony of new Phi Betes included an honorary initiate from the UCLA faculty. The Versailles Quartet performed at the ceremony.
Eta Chapter has experienced an interesting phenomenon regarding some students who had originally declined the chapter’s invitation into the Society. Years later, some of these students have reconsidered and requested to be allowed to accept membership, after the fact. Apparently they realized the value and prestige of election to Phi Beta Kappa later on in their professional lives– the edge that can be gained when the designation appears on one’s resume in a competitive job market. The Eta Chapter has assisted approximately a dozen such graduates in their belated acceptance of the designation, just in the past couple of years. Most recently, Eta received a request to retrieve records for a possible PBK election from 1939!
Longtime President of Eta Chapter, Professor Herb Kaesz writes about the Pauline Venable Turrill 19th Century Music Award, established by an initial bequest in 1992 in the amount of $42,000. Dr. Pauline Turrill was a former member of the UCLA Faculty of Musicology. Her bequest stipulated that the award be given for research in 19th Century music and that the recipient be a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Awards had been given every year from 1994 through 1998, but none since then, primarily because no applications had been received. In the future, the Chapter may also consider eligible candidates from other California schools for this award.
The Phi of California Chapter at the University of San Diego, installed in 2003, has established an annual Phi Beta Kappa Fall Lecture Series. Our first two speakers have been Dale Hoak, Chancellor Professor of History at the College of William and Mary, who spoke on "The Age of Henry VIII;" and Mike Davis, Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, who spoke on "Planet of Slums: The Future of Urban Poverty." Our chapter has also hosted a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar. Last March, Dr. Andrea Liu, Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a public lecture on "The Physics of How Cells Crawl and Listeria Spreads." In our first two spring initiation banquets our chapter has also featured guest lecturers. In 2004 the speaker was Jonathan Spence, Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, and in 2005 our guest lecturer was Paul Andrew Hutton, Professor of History at the University of New Mexico.
Jim Gump, Professor of History, Vice President of Phi Chapter
California Epsilon Chapter, University of Southern California proudly initiated eighty-three scholars, both seniors and juniors in April 2005. The initiation was held in our beautiful Town and Gown banquet rooms and a superb Initiation Address was given by Dr. Phillipa Levine, British Scholar and Professor of History, USC. For many years, Epsilon Chapter has also selected a graduating senior member to be our Phi Beta Kappa Valedictorian. This is a new, splendid tradition, honored by the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, students, and parents.
Epsilon Chapter will play a leading part in the establishment of a new Honors Societies Program in the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences; a Program emphasizing the vital information regarding Honors Societies and the great meaning in their membership recognition saluting their excellence in scholarly achievement.
Dean Joan M. Schaefer, Secretary, Epsilon Chapter
Last spring, Beta Chapter of Colorado initiated 50 members. All whom we invited accepted membership; however, not all showed up at the initiation ceremony. As to what distinguishes our chapter from others, our chapter was founded in 1904 (the same year as the Alpha Chapter of Colorado at the University of Colorado, Boulder) as part of PBK's push to the West. Our initiates sign their names in our chapter book that has been signed every single year since our chapter's inception.
, Vice President, Beta Chapter
COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY, DELTA CHAPTER
In spring, 2005, we initiated 13 juniors and 39 seniors for a total of 52.
Our Chapter will co-sponsor with the Department of Biology, Visiting Scholar Elliot Meyerowitz in March 2006.
, Secretary, Delta Chapter
Alpha Chapter of Colorado holds two initiation events each year. We invited a record number for December 2006, and initiated 159 new members, with a formal ceremony and reception. We have made arrangements with our Registrar to carry out much of the analysis for invitations in a very direct way, saving us all a lot of arithmetic. Other chapters may wish to learn from this experience. Frankly, out biggest problem is lack of faculty interest in our Chapter or any of its activities, and we are not able to fulfill our duty as the leading academic honorary on campus. Our Crisp Fellowship Program awarded the 2006 award of a $7500 fellowship for graduate study in the liberal arts to Miss Kelsi Singer, who has ambitions to pursue astrobiology. was re-elected for another three-year term as President in March of 2006, and remains as our valued Secretary/Treasurer.
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA, ALPHA CHAPTER
During 2004-2005, we initiated 101 undergraduates, including three juniors. We hosted Visiting PBK Scholars Graham R. Fleming (Chemistry) in April 2004 and N. Katherine Hayles (Literature and Media Arts) in October 2005. We continue to award the Maurer Scholarship annually to junior initiates. This is a modest cash award. Each year the UH Manoa Chancellor hosts an afternoon reception in the initates' honor. The actual initiation is held in the Ala Moana Hotel, and is no doubt the only PBK initiation to begin with a Hawaiian language chant of welcome.
Stephen Canham, Secretary, Alpha Chapter
LEWIS AND CLARK COLLEGE, GAMMA CHAPTER
In 2004-2005, 29 seniors and 7 juniors were elected to Gamma Chapter. Also elected was one alumnus, Christopher Friday, Professor of History and Department Chair, Western Washington University.
The initiation speaker in April 2005 was our new president of the college, Thomas Hochstettler. Christopher Friday was invited to speak at the 2006 initiation. The ceremony is usually followed by a reception for members and guests.
In 2005, we also had a special reception during graduation weekend for new members and families. This was a small, informal, gathering on Saturday morning, including champagne and strawberries. Certificates and congratulations were awarded with a few words from Eban Goodstein, who also spoke in honor of Evan Williams. Evan was the driving force in establishing our chapter and hence the main record keeper. See his mark at the bottom of our WEB page as creator. He died last year as a result of a brain tumor and will be missed here at Lewis & Clark. He was the inspiration for many activities on campus and responsible for our Environmental Studies program. (See http://www.lclark.edu/dept/esm/evan_williams.html or http://www.lclark.edu/org/treewalk). Immediately following was the college Tree Walk dedication to Evan.
Visiting Scholar Program: the History Department joint ventured with PBK to sponsor Thomas Childers. This year, Ron Graham will be supported by Math Dept and PBK.
, Math Skills Center Director
WILLAMETTE UNIVERSITY, DELTA CHAPTER
1. Willamette University’s new Chapter Web Site was brought online in summer 2004. The web site includes information on chapter history, current members, selection criteria, etc. With university assistance, it was fairly easy to get the site started and keep it updated. It has been a valuable tool for keeping students, faculty, and parents apprised of important chapter information.
2. New Criteria Developed for Selection of Student Inductees: Our most important innovation in 2004 was adopting and implementing a thoroughly revised set of criteria for selecting new student members. Many of us have been concerned with the overwhelming importance of the role played by GPA in selecting students, and the inequity that this entails in terms of different levels of grade inflation in different departments. Accordingly, our new criteria, adopted in October 2004, instituted our changes:
a. In selecting seniors, the top 15% of the senior class (as judged by quality point ratio, PBK-GPA) shall be split into two tiers:
Tier I: top 5% of seniors (including those already elected as juniors) ranked by PBK-GPA. These students are accepted, unless they have serious disciplinary infractions, poor department ranking, or significant concerns regarding character.
Tier II: top 5-15%, ranked by PBK-GPA. These students are judged on the basis of a summation of all of the information at the disposal of the Members in Course Committee.
b. Departmental Rankings: As a department, the faculty in each liberal arts major complete a PBK ranking sheet for the top 15% of all seniors and top 3% of all juniors (by PBK-GPA) majoring in the department
c. Departmental PBK Limits: For departments graduating ten or more majors annually, the Members in Course Committee will attempt each year to limit PBK nominees to less than 20% of all majors graduating in that department.
d. Follow-up on Senior Spring Grades: If a nominee’s spring semester GPA is lower than 3.0, his or her invitation to join PBK may be withdrawn.
3. New and Continuing Aspects of Induction/Graduation: We have continued our recent tradition of distributing pink and blue PBK cords, along with PBK keys and certificates, to each new inductee. We have also been fortunate the last four years in having the Dean of our College of Liberal Arts, Carol Long, a Phi Beta Kappa member, deliver the keynote address at our induction luncheon ceremony. We instituted two notable new innovations this year:
a. We received extra funding to allow each student inductee to invite one faculty member of his/her choice to the induction ceremony. Our chapter now pays the luncheon fee for each inductee plus two guests plus one faculty member. Almost all invited faculty attended the luncheon this spring. This expansion of our program serves two important functions: It allows students to honor a faculty member who has been instrumental in his/her academic career, and it also raises the profile of Phi Beta Kappa among campus faculty who may have otherwise been unfamiliar with our chapter.
b. We obtained a reserved seating section at the graduation ceremony for two guests of each inductee. This new “perk” was greatly appreciated by the inductees and their parents.
Aside from the fact that we were unsuccessful in scheduling a visit from our assigned Visiting Scholar, Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, 2004-05 was a fairly active year for our chapter. This March (2006) we look forward to hosting our Visiting Scholar, Dr. Elliott Meyerowitz.
We initiated 65 new members in the spring of 2005, and awarded three new full-tuition scholarships from a PBK endowment fund. In the fall, we had a very successful PBK Visiting Lecturer, Dr. Kenneth Pomeranz. He spent two days on campus in a mix of formal lectures and informal meetings with classes. His all-university address was widely attended by faculty and students across campus, from History and Asia Studies to Agricultural Economics and International Development, with lively discussion afterwards.
, Dean of the Honors College and Interim Director, Office of Undergraduate Education
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, ALPHA CHAPTER
The Washington Alpha Chapter at the University of Washington initiated 298 students in 2004 and 108 students in 2005. Professor Richard R. Johnson, honorary PBK member, spoke at the 2004 ceremony, and Professor Emeritus and PBK member, Eugene Webb spoke at the 2005 ceremony. His address can be read at the Chapter's Website.
The Chapter co-hosts informal pizza lunches for Honors program undergraduates. At each lunch, a faculty member gives a talk about his/her discipline and invites conversation about the research in that field. It's been a good way to engage students intellectually, and to let them know about PBK. Acting Dean of Undergraduate Education Christine Ingebritsen will be the faculty guest in Winter Quarter 2006.
The Chapter has begun working with the UW Alumni Association to form a long-term partnership that will reach alumni who are PBK members. We plan to send out a brief e-mail newsletter and to upgrade the Chapter's website to permit online giving.
Louise M. Richards, President, Washington Alpha Chapter
Counting visits to The Western District!