Dear Fellow Phi Betes:
As the days shorten, and the rain begins, our thoughts turn toward making holiday plans. Before you relegate this newsletter to the bottom of the "To Do" pile and get too involved in all your year-end activities, please take a moment to join PBK NCA. You may not realize that all current memberships expire on Dec. 31, 2006. And some of you may think you have already joined our Association, as you have already sent a check to National. (See "Membership Fact Sheet", page 7, in this newsletter.) If you did not receive a September newsletter, it was because you had not paid your 2006 dues. And if you did receive a September newsletter, it contained an unauthorized insert. (See the article titled “Another Envelope?” to the right.)
But that glitch aside, why should you part with $30 in dues? Or even contribute more? Membership in our Association is an opportunity to help fund scholarships and teaching excellence awards, meet new people, attend enjoyable, intellectually stimulating programs, and benefit from being part of an award-winning organization. Membership contributions and participation in our programs are fundamental to our success.
Because volunteers run our Association, your contributions directly benefit our scholarship and teaching excellence recipients. A list of these extraordinarily talented teachers and scholars appears on page 3. Your generous support in the past year enabled us to distribute more scholarship money at our Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner than ever before. (See Letitia Sanders' article, below) We hope to make this coming year every bit as successful.
If you were a paid up member of PBK NCA for 2006, your September newsletter included an erroneous membership envelope. Even though there was no mention of this insert in the newsletter, and the year printed and the amount requested were both incorrect, some of you dutifully sent in your dues .
What happened was that our printer made an error. Apparently, some employee found an old box of our membership envelopes from 2005 and, without checking with us, included them in our September newsletter. Needless to say, we were more than a bit dismayed, not the least because 2005 dues were $25 and 2007 dues are $30.
For those of you who returned the envelope and included your check at the old dues' rate, thank you for your promptness. You are paid up for 2007. For the rest of you, please disregard any membership envelope you might have received in the September newsletter and return the one included in this issue. (Please note that we have included a new space for you to "opt out" of being included in our directory, which will be published again in 2008.)
A common question about membership: "Didn't I already join the Association? I sent a check to Phi Beta Kappa in Washington, D.C." To clear up the confusion implicit in this question, here is a brief primer on the differences between the national Phi Beta Kappa Society and our Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa.
The Phi Beta Kappa Society (PBK) in Washington, D.C.
Once you are initiated into Phi Beta Kappa - usually in your senior year in college - you become a lifetime member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The Society sends out yearly solicitations for donations and sustaining memberships in order to maintain its services at the national level. It also publishes a newsletter called The Key Reporter. The Society's website at www.pbk.org provides an excellent source of additional information about the national organization.
Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Association (PBK NCA)
Today there are 58 active PBK alumni associations across the nation that support the aims of the national Society by promoting the value of a liberal arts education and awarding scholarships. Our Association, PBK NCA, ranks among the top in the nation, not only in the size of our membership, but also in the number of social activities we sponsor and in the amount of scholarship money that we distribute each year. National recognized our efforts by an award at the 2003 Triennial, and our Asilomar conference has been featured in articles in the 2006 summer and fall issues of The Key Reporter.
Our primary goals are twofold:
• Recognizing excellence in teaching by honoring professors who have been nominated by former students who belong to PBK. This past April at our Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, we awarded certificates and honoria to five outstanding professors.
• Helping outstanding graduate students by granting scholarships. In addition to honoring the professors, we awarded $60,000 in scholarships to 12 deserving students. (The professors and the students are listed on pages 2 and 3 of this newsletter.)
Our Board consists of hard-working, dedicated, and talented volunteers who run PBK NCA. Unlike National, we have no paid employees. That means the only significant costs we need to cover are postage and printing of our newsletters and every three years, a directory. Therefore, we are able to put our members' dues and donations directly into our scholarship and teaching excellence funds.
We also offer our members opportunities to get together socially, often for private tours of educational or cultural institutions. (See our tour offerings and our wonderful Asilomar Conference.) All of our events serve as social opportunities, as well as fundraisers for our scholarship program.
Any Phi Beta Kappan - even if initiated at a university in another state - is welcome to join the Northern California Association. In fact, many of our most active members were initiated into PBK at a college outside of California, so we would be delighted to get to know you.
Please join PBK NCA in 2007 by sending in the Membership envelope from your hard-copy Newsletter, or contact us here if you've lost your envelope.
PBK NCA has for many years made annual Excellence in Teaching Awards. Each award consists of a handsome certificate and a $500 honorarium. All members of PBK NCA are encouraged to nominate a teacher who made a special contribution to their development. Eligible nominees are faculty members of the seven universities of Northern California that harbor PBK chapters: the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Davis, the University of California, Santa Cruz, Mills College, San Francisco State University, and Stanford University. Although the university at which the nominee teaches must have a PBK chapter, the nominees need not be a member of PBK. A copy of the nomination form appears on page two of the newsletter. It is also available on the PBK NCA website. I need completed applications before November 30, 2006. The Association presents the awards at the annual dinner in May 2007.
At the Annual Meeting in May 2006, we presented five $500 Teaching Excellence honoria to the following professors nominated by Phi Beta Kappa students:
William Parent, Dept. of Philosophy Santa Clara University
Don C. Price, Dept. of History UC Davis
Neil E. Schore, Dept. of Chemistry UC Davis
David Stronach, Dept. of Near Eastern Studies UC Berkeley
Darren Zook, Dept. of Political Science UC Berkeley
, Chair, Teaching Excellence Committee
Get the nomination form here
In 2006, the Scholarship Committee awarded a dozen scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each to graduate students at campuses in our area. We received applications from twenty-one students representing seven campus chapters. I thank the members of the Scholarship Committee (Jeff Fenton, Lynne Fovinci, Mary Gilliland, and Gerry Richards) for helping review the applications and make the difficult decisions needed to pare the list to the twelve outstanding students chosen. These students represent the highest standards of scholarship and exemplify PBK’s ideal. Special thanks to Maria and Burt Norall for funding a scholarship again this year.
Arthur William Bahr, English UC Berkeley, Norall Family Awardee
Brooke Erin Crowley, Earth Sciences UC Santa Cruz
Talissa Jane Ford, English UC Berkeley
Eleanor Bayne Johnson, English and Medieval Studies UC Berkeley
Lisa Ann Justice, History UC Davis
Andrew J. Koontz-Garboden, Linguistics Stanford
Charles Chia-hong Lin, Medicine UC SF
Darius Parke Ornston, Political Science UC Berkeley
Corinna Riginos, Ecology UC Davis, Elizabeth Reed Awardee
Brian J. Schulman, Medicine UC SF
Todd Stephen Sechser, Political Science Stanford
Jessica Lea Weeks, Political Science Stanford
, Second Vice President – Scholarships
One of our long time members came up to me after the Annual Meeting last spring and asked me how we were able to award more scholarships this year, 12 to be exact, even though our membership had not grown proportionally larger in the last few years. There are several reasons why we were able to offer not only three more scholarships this year, but also were able to increase the amount awarded from $4000 to $5000 for each recipient. Although I am the membership VP, not scholarships VP, I feel able to explain the situation as membership and scholarships are directly related. After all, money from dues is the major source of the money awarded in our scholarships. Here are the main reasons why our scholarships increased this year.
First, this year as in certain past years, a special scholarship was again given by our loyal member Maria Norall and her husband Burt.
Second, you all realize that we raised our dues last year from $25 to $30. This was due to the national organization’s raising our assessment from $.50 to $2.00 per member.
Third, many of you were very generous this year and contributed much more than the minimum dues, with a large number of you giving us $50.
Fourth, the bottom line is that we took in a lot more money this year while spending less. Good business, right? The explanation is a change made by the Board of Directors three years ago to our November membership campaign. For the purposes of simplicity, I have used rounded numbers rather than exact ones in this explanation. The Board discovered after a study that the costs of our large mailing each November had leaped to almost $15,000. In the past, we had been mailing to all members on our database (about 2000 each year) and also to a list that we requested from the National organization of all people in Northern California who had ever been initiated into Phi Beta Kappa. This list contained almost 30,000 names, including our own members. This mailing cost us over $15,000 and brought in only 118 new members. The Board realized that we could give out two new scholarships with the savings from curtailing this mailing. Finally, last year we limited the list of names from National to a more current list of only 10,000 members who had been in contact with them at some time within the last 3 years. This revised list resulted in almost 200 new members. The cost of this was only a little over $7,000 or one third of what the 30,000 would cost us today, considering all the cost of printing and mailing.
The Board’s decision has saved us enough to award more scholarships in the long run. Each year we again look at the total number of members we have on our local database and decide whether it is feasible to again mail to all the members National has on its database, which has risen to over 30,000 today. We can always do so if necessary.
At the present time, we have 2280 people listed in our local Northern California database, all of whose addresses appear to be current. Of those 1180 paid their dues last year to become active members.
So this has been a good year for our membership and for Phi Beta Kappa of Northern California. Let’s keep up the good work. Remember, almost all of our income does go to our scholarship program.
GIVE GENEROUSLY AGAIN THIS YEAR
, Third Vice-President, Membership