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March 2020 Newsletter

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From the President

Mary GillilandI am writing this missive prior to our annual Presidents’ Weekend retreat at Asilomar, which this year was held 14-17 February. If you haven’t ever before attended one of these retreats, you NEED to come! It is a learning experience like no other, and you’ll meet PBK-NCA members who have come for decades and always say they are taking home so many new ideas (not to mention a few extra pounds from the tasty meals in the Dining Hall). If you couldn’t make the retreat this year, put it on your 2021 calendar as soon as you get one: it’ll be held 12-15 February 2021, so we can celebrate Valentine’s Day, too.

During the year, PBK-NCA hosts visits to remarkable sites around our “neck of the woods,” sign-ups for which are available on our Website, www.pbknca.org, and in our Newsletter (ably edited by Ray Hendess, my go-to person for historical information about the Association and all things Internet). Our First Vice President for Programs, O’Neil Dillon, plans most of the almost-monthly meet-ups that PBK-NCA offers throughout the year. He will be happy to receive your payments for excursions (either by check – remember those? – or via PayPal online). Again, all the news you need to know is at  www.pbknca.org.

As sometimes happens at this time of year, members of our Board leave to pursue other activities, and new members step up to keep us going forward. Board members for the 2020-21 year will be elected and installed at the Annual Meeting, ably planned by Jean James, to be held Sunday May 3, 2020 at the Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley. Check the ΦBKNCA website or the article in this Newsletter for more information. If you should have a yen to serve our Association as a Board Member, please let me know at mltg@aol.com. We can probably match a job to your interests and qualifications. There are also opportunities for one-off activities (at this time of year I’m thinking Audit Committee) and helping with tours/visits.

I look forward to meeting you at one of our upcoming activities, and I thank you for your continued support of Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association.

Mary Turner Gilliland President 2011-2020, Mltg@aol.com

Event Reservations and other important information

Reservations can now be made online using Paypal or credit card. Quick and easy, no coupons to download and mail, and you get an instant receipt! See the website at www.pbknca.org/events/. Of course, coupons are still available if you want to send a check. No acknowledgements will be sent for coupon reservations.


Most events can accommodate you and any friends or family you'd like to bring along. Occasionally an event will have a limited enrollment, in which case we may not be able to accommodate more than one member and one guest per enrollment. No refunds; fees will be donated to the scholarship fund program in lieu of a refund. You will not receive written confirmation of your reservation for the events unless you register online. Directions are available from the event websites, Google.com, your GPS, or on the day of the event by calling O’Neil at 510-207-8761.


If you subsequently can’t make an event, others may be waiting. Kindly notify O’Neil Dillon, Programs, cell 510-207-8761, oneilsdillon@gmail.com


EVENT - Saturday March 21, 2020, 11 AM, The Museum of International Propaganda, San Rafael. Deadline March 19th.

“Propaganda is the calculated manipulation of information designed to shape public opinion and behavior to predetermined ends, as desired by the propagandist. Subjectivity, disinformation, exaggeration, and the outright falsification of facts are the hallmarks of propaganda practitioners”.


This collection of propaganda represents the political art of more than 25 countries, including North Korea, Cuba, Nazi Germany, Vietnam, Iran, and the Soviet Union.  The objects on display were mostly designed and financed by various governments, dictators, and special interests with specific political goals in mind. 


Tom and Lilka Areton have collected visual political propaganda for over 40 years.  Their experiences living and traveling in totalitarian regimes affected them in profound ways and led to their creating this museum.


Tom will give us a private guided tour of the museum, discussing the seven expressions in which propaganda is presented.   He will have his award-winning white wine available for those who wish it (suggested donation $5).


Website: https://museumofpropaganda.org/

Place: The Museum of International Propaganda

1000 5th Ave, San Rafael, corner of Court St.

Driving directions: Google “Directions to The Museum of International Propaganda” or

Click here for Google driving directions map


Time:  11 AM Saturday March 21, 2020

Cost:  $10

Parking: Two large no cost lots (right and left) on first block of Court St North of 5th Ave. Paid street and garage parking.

Group size: Maximum 20


register Online
Register by Mail

EVENT - Sunday, May 3, 2020, 12 noon: PBKNCA Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. Bancroft Hotel, Berkeley. Deadline: April 19, 2020

Bancroft Hotel

Have you been feeling pessimistic about the younger generation? Now is your chance to restore your faith in our future. Please plan to join us for lunch at noon on Sunday, May 3, at the Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley for our annual meeting and awards presentations. The business meeting takes only a few minutes; we devote the rest of the time to honor outstanding professors and students. At last May’s luncheon, we distributed five $1,000 Teaching Excellence awards to outstanding professors and twelve $7,500 scholarships to exceptional graduate students. One of these professors and one of these students joined us in February at our Asilomar conference (page 7), and their presentations more than justified the awards they received. We hope you can join us May 3. If you do, you will leave feeling optimistic about today’s youth.


Menu: Baskets of gourmet vegan breads, butter
Baby arugula salad, fresh orange segments, thinly sliced fennel with citrus vinaigrette
Entrees (all choices gluten-free):
Lemon caper chicken
Halibut with artichoke and olive caponata
(both choices accompanied by herbed wild rice and roasted vegetables)
Vegan option: Asparagus and mushroom risotto
Dessert: lemon meringue torte or chocolate torte (gluten free)

Date:               Sunday, May 3, 2020

Deadline:         April 19, 2020

Time:               12:00 Noon - 4:00 pm

Cost:                $45.00

Location:       Bancroft Hotel, Berkeley

From the Bancroft Hotel's website:  "we are located across the street from UC Berkeley at 2680 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704. Our phone number is (510) 549-1000.  From Interstate 80, take the University Avenue exit into Berkeley, heading east toward the U.C. campus. At the University, turn right on Oxford Street and then left onto Durant Avenue. Cross Telegraph Avenue, turn onto College Avenue, and left again onto Bancroft Way.  The Bancroft Hotel is the second building on the left-hand side."


The website, bancrofthotel.com/directions/   includes a decent map showing the hotel's location on Bancroft Way. 


Parking: The Bancroft has some handicap parking available upon request; however, hotel guests have first priority, so nothing is guaranteed. Street parking is free on Sundays. There is metered parking under the tennis courts across the street and down about half a block. Allow enough time to find a parking spot.


The “Meeting” portion will consist of election of officers for the 2020-2021 year.


The slate will consist of: Mary Turner Gilliland, President; O’Neil Dillon, First Vice President – Programs; Joanne Sandstrom, Second Vice President – Scholarships; Patricia Kenber, Third Vice President – Membership; Duncan Missimer, Treasurer; Susan Jenkins, Corresponding/Recording Secretary.


Bios of all nominees are at https://www.pbknca.org/bios/2020-2021.phi.beta.kappa.pbk.php


Jean James, Past-President, PBKNCA

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EVENT - Saturday, May 16, 2020, 9:30 AM. New Cooking Gadgets 101—Can You “Sous Vide” and/or “Instant Pot”???
Saturday, May 16, 2020, 9:30 AM. New Cooking Gadgets 101—Can You “Sous Vide” and/or “Instant Pot”???  Deadline Friday, May 1, 2020

Instant PotThis Year’s Exclusive Class with Chef Chris (who was the master bread baker last time).

Saturday, May 16, 2020 from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm


Another great time this will be for us!  Starting bright and early, we will meet at Judy Hardardt’s “new” home in Davis where we will have the chance not just to learn about Sous Vide and the Instant Pot, but we will have plenty of hands-on practice. If you already have an Instant Pot, bring it with you so we can share our experiences. 


Lunch will include the results of our cooking in the morning (will include those accompanying participants).  By the end of the day, we’ll be going home with freshly made souvenirs.  What more could we possibly ask for?  Come hungry!


Date:               Saturday, May 16, 2020      

Time:               9:30 am—to 3:00 pm

Minimum:        8

Maximum:  10                                                       

Deadline:  Friday, May 1, 2020

Fee:  $45.00 (cooks) and $15.00 (those accompanying the cooks)

Limit: Two cooks; one accompanying guest per cook


Directions: 27131 Mace Blvd., Davis, CA 95618.  Phone number 530-297-7150.

Cilck for Google directions



From the Bay area, take I-80 East to the Davis Mace Blvd. exit.  At the end of the exit, turn left and then turn right at the light.  This puts you on Mace Blvd.  Go straight ahead through one traffic light and one stop sign.  A short distance from the stop sign you will see a left turn lane that will take you into the El Macero Villas complex (sign on a stone at that entrance).  Bear to the right immediately and then a very short distance, turn left into the first group of townhouses.  Judy’s is in the far left corner at #27131 which you’ll find on a wooden column just to the left of the door.  Parking places along the drive before and after the turn into Judy’s townhouse area.    Address:  27131 Mace Blvd., Davis, CA 95618.  Phone number 530-297-7150.


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EVENT - Saturday, June 20, 2020, 11:45 AM, John Muir, "Fruit Rancher, Family Man, Writer… Father of the National Park service” Deadline Monday, June 1, 2020

John Muir House

We will have a 1 hour, docent-led tour of John Muir’s home and orchards.

Learn about the history of this influential conservationist and see how he and his family lived in Martinez in this house with it's orchard.  In addition, the Martinez Adobe tells the history of the Anza Expedition of 1776, establishing the first Spanish settlement at San Francisco Bay. 


Depending how the orchard is doing, we may be able to pick some fruit to take home.  Picnic grounds are available for lunch after the tour. Nearby Mt Wanda hiking trails are part of the park and can be enjoyed as well.  Facilities are limited.  Bring water. 


Place:  John Muir National Historic Park

     4202 Alhambra Ave 

     Martinez, CA 94553


Click for Google directions


Date:  Saturday, June 20th, 11:45 AM 


Website:     http://nps.gov/jomu/learn/historyculture/places.htm#__topdoc

as well as the Martinez Adobe  https://www.nps.gov/juba/index.htm which may be self-guided or, if there are enough docents, docent led.

ADA accessible

Parking- limited onsite.  Street parking on Walnut street opposite parking entrance to park.  All day and 2 hr parking available.  

group limit -25

Deadline Monday, June 1st

Cost-  $10

Rain cancels


Martinez Adobe


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REVIEW - Asilomar 2020 34th Annual Asilomar Conference the weekend of February 14 - 17, 2020

Beach header

If western culture is shown to be rich it is because… It has tried to dissolve harmful simplifications through inquiry and the critical mind.”    – Umberto Eco

We had a slate of extraordinary speakers representing a broad range of disciplines and pursuits. As always, we look forward not only to sharing a mental workout but also to the privilege of renewing old friendships and beginning new ones – all in a location of exceptional peace and beauty.  Thank you for joining us in what was a lively and exhilarating exchange.

Read a summary of the speakers and topics here

It is not too early to sign up now for 2021.

PBK Board July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020

Mary Turner Gilliland, President
Menlo Park, (650) 321-9966, Mltg@aol.com
O’Neil Dillon, First Vice President – Programs
Berkeley, cell 510-207-8761, oneilsdillon@gmail.com
Davis, cell (707) 696-9498, hardardtj@gmail.com
Joanne Sandstrom, Second Vice President – Scholarships
Oakland, (510) 339-1352, joannes@berkeley.edu
Patricia Kenber, Third Vice President – Membership
Danville, (925) 838-2296, kenber@sbcglobal.net, Duncan Missimer, Treasurer
Mountain View, (408) 368-0835, Duncan.missimer@ieee.org
Susan Jenkins, Corresponding and Recording Secretary
San Jose, (408) 532-6550, sjenkins4@yahoo.com
Deirdre Frontczak, Asilomar Chair
Santa Rosa, (707) 546-4238, dfrontczak@santarosa.edu
Amanda Sanyal, Chapter Liaison
Campbell, (650) 520-5419, a_derry@yahoo.com
Ray Hendess, Communications Officer
Petaluma, (707) 763-2072, Ray@pbknca.org
Narcinda Lerner, Teaching Excellence Chair
Woodside, (650) 851-0137, nrlernern@netscape.net