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December 2019 Newsletter

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Time to Renew your Membership

We start soliciting for memberships for the next year in November because our scholarships are awarded in May and we need to know how much money will be available. Last year we were able to fund 12 scholarships of $7,500 each from the dues and donations we collected and the income from our endowed funds. Here are the award winners from 2019. Go to www.pbknca.org/scholarship/ for more about these worthy students.


If you have not yet joined for 2020, Go to contribute.pbknca.org



2029 Students

Keru Cai, Abrar Choudhury, Melissa Cronin, Natalia Duong, Adrienne Epstein, Steven Foley


2019 StudentsStefan Lemke, Ryane Logsdon, Mashail Malik, Araceli Serrano, Emma Steigerwald, Gloria Yu


In addition to scholarship awards, we honor faculty members nominated by their ΦBK students. In 2019, the following five received certificates and honoraria. Go to www.pbknca.org/teaching/teaching.winners.phi.beta.kappa.pbk.php for more about these distinguished teachers.

2019 TE Awardees

James Housefield, Daniel Mason, David Olson, Gabriel Oberi-Gann, Robert Siegel


If you have not yet joined for 2020, Go to contribute.pbknca.org


From the President

Mary Gilliland

As the holiday season again fills our lives with remembrances of the year past and hopes for the year to come, I wish each of you joy in your celebrations, and happiness in 2020. ΦBK- NCA is fortunate to count you as a member of our organization.

November was the start of membership renewal season for ΦBK-NCA, so please remit your membership contribution via PayPal using your own PayPal account or credit card at this site: contribute.pbknca.org, and save a stamp and a few trees. Or you may use the enclosed remittance envelope. Our membership year is January-December, so if you paid at ANY time through September 2018, your renewal is due now. Many thanks for supporting ΦBK-NCA.

If you are a 2019, 2018 or 2017 inductee from one of the eight Northern California colleges which have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter – Mills College, Santa Clara University, San Francisco State University, Stanford University, the Universities of California at Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz, and the University of the Pacific - you receive a free membership for three years from your induction year.

Every membership contribution is totally tax-deductible. Your generosity enables us to fund Graduate Student scholarships and Teaching Excellence awards, to be presented at our Annual Luncheon on May 3, 2020. We do NOT receive any funds from the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Washington, D.C., and a donation to them does not confer membership in our Association.

As an active (dues-paying or three-years-free) member, you'll be able to enjoy monthly activities in various sites around the Bay Area. First Vice President – Programs, O’Neil Dillon, has a wonderful array of excursions, museums, and behind-the-scenes visits planned. You'll meet other ΦBK-PCA members and discover hidden treasures in our own backyard. Join us over Presidents' Weekend (14-17 February 2020) at the beautiful Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove for our annual retreat weekend. Deirdre Frontczak has rounded up an amazing panoply of speakers to educate and entertain us. Information about signing up for activities, and their costs, may be found in this newsletter and on our website: www.pbknca.org/.

We are also recruiting volunteers for various Board positions. If you are interested in giving of your time to our Association, please contact a member of the Nominating Committee or myself. Time commitments can be from as little as one day (e.g., Audit Committee, being host at an activity) to as many hours as you are able to give. All positions are rewarding and all volunteers are appreciated. It’s an opportunity to meet other dedicated members and to learn how this fine organization operates.

I look forward to meeting you at one of our activities, so I may thank you in person for supporting our Association. Our loyal members are what make ΦBK-NCA a superb organization. Thank you for your generosity.

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 - Sunday, January 5, 2020, 2PM "THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND" Musical, Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma. Deadine December 11

The World Goes RoundCinnabar Theater“THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND” - Razzle-dazzle, show-stopping, famous melodies, hilarious lyrics, and all that jazz that celebrates the songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb. All your favorite hits from CABARET and CHICAGO plus lots of great songs from THE RINK, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, WOMAN OF THE YEAR and other musicals are spun into a delightful cabaret-style revue that has garnered loads of awards from coast to coast. The show was conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman & David Thompson, with Stage Direction by Clark Sterling and Music Direction by Mike Greensill.

Cinnabar Theater is a professional non-profit theater located in a quaint 1908 schoolhouse-turned-theater. It earns a 4.5/5 Google review rating.

Event: “THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND” musical.

Where:  Cinnabar Theatre 3333 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

Google map click here

When:   Sunday, January 5, 2020, 2 PM Matinee

Deadline: December 11; after that, only if tickets still available.

Cost:     $50

Maximum: 20

Accessibility: ADA accessible

Parking: Limited available, car pool if possible


Register by Mail


EVENT - Saturday January 18, 2020, 11 AM, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Deadline Jan 15th

Wildlife RefugeOne of the world’s premier wildlife spectacles is to be experienced in the Central Valley, north of Sacramento.  30,000 acres of managed wildlife refuges provide habitat for the hundreds of thousands of waterfowl which are part of the great winter Pacific Migration. You do not need to be a dedicated birder to be inspired by this spectacle of nature. The Sacramento National Wildlife refuge consists of 11,000 of those acres. It has a 6-mile drive-through road with dedicated stops, as well as a viewing platform which is ADA accessible.

We start at the Visitor Center with a video and Ranger presentation before embarking on the driving tour of the refuge itself. We view wildlife from the vehicle and only get out of our cars at the dedicated stops. The wildlife is used to the cars moving and stopped along the roads, thus providing excellent viewing opportunities. However, they will scatter if a car stops and someone gets out.

We will have our picnic lunch at the observation platform. A picnic lunch can be purchased at Granzella’s Deli in Williams, before you get to the refuge or bring from home.

For those interested after the end of the refuge driving tour, there are self-guided wetland walks starting at the visitor center, one of which is ADA accessible. 

One option to deal with the long drive associated with this trip is to go up the night before and stay in Willows or Granzella’s Inn in Williams. They have a large Italian restaurant, deli, gift shop and sports bar. You can take a wetlands walking tour at the refuge that evening, or the next day prior to the tour. You could also see the "evening exodus" ½ hour after sunset, by driving the refuge road. At that time hundreds of thousands of waterfowl leave the refuge to fill the sky and to feed in adjoining fields, returning the next day.


Place: Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge www.fws.gov/refuge/Sacramento

Located 75 minutes north of Sacramento, adjacent to Interstate 5. Traveling north or south on I-5, exit at Rd 68 (#595, 9.1 miles north of Maxwell or 8.3 miles south of Willows) and turn east towards Hwy 99W (parallels I-5). Go north 1.7 miles on Hwy 99W, turn right into Refuge entrance. Pay $6 parking fee at kiosk on the right side of the road, or at the visitor center. Park and come into the visitor center.


Google “directions to Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge visitor's center” or

Click here for Google driving directions to the wildlife refuge


Google “directions to Granzella’s Inn” or

Click here for driving directions to Granzella’s Inn


Date: Saturday January 18, 2020

Time: 11AM -1PM (Arrive early) This is a 2.5-hour drive from the central Bay Area.  Google your directions to get your driving time estimate. Although arduous getting there, the experience is likely to be well worth it.

Cost: $10. Group size: minimum 10, maximum 40.

Weather: Rain cancels due to the long drive and less opportunity to see wildlife. Granzella’s Inn has a 24 hour cancellation policy.

What to bring: Binoculars, if you have them. The NWR does have some for loan. Bring sturdy shoes and lunch. 



Register Online
Register by Mail


EVENT - Asilomar 2020 34nd Annual Asilomar Conference the weekend of February 14 - 17, 2020 Deadline Dec 10, 2019

Asilomar 2020 34nd Annual Asilomar Conference 
the weekend of February 14 - 17, 2020. Deadline Dec 10, 2019

Beach header

Where is Asilomar? The beautiful Asilomar Conference Grounds was designed in the Arts & Crafts style by architect Julia Morgan and is located near Monterey, California. We have held our conference there for the past 33 years. For more see the Wiki

Asilomar once again beckons! This year’s conference reminded us of the pleasures of dialogue in the liberal arts – a conversation that flows from history to literature, from biology to design, from neuroscience to music to foreign affairs.


We have 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 promises to be a lively and exhilarating exchange.


More details will be posted online about this wonderful event at www.pbknca.org/asilomar. It is not too early to sign up now!

Deirdre Frontczak, Asilomar Chair


Register by Mail



A preview of the 2020 speakers:


Diane DreherFriday Evening, 7:30 pm.

Diane Dreher, Ph.D. (Literature), Santa Clara University, also PBK

The Secret Behind Shakespeare’s Greatest Tragedies


William Shakespeare wrote all of his major tragedies between 1602 and 1607: Hamlet in 1602, Othello in 1604, King Lear in 1605, Macbeth in 1606, and Antony and Cleopatra in 1607. For years scholars have wondered about the mystery behind these works: what had inspired his greatest tragedies? We now know from psychological research that writing about emotional trauma can be powerfully therapeutic. My research has revealed that Shakespeare’s personal losses plunged him into a prolonged period of grieving. While writing Hamlet, he began a therapeutic process that filled his tragedies with unprecedented emotional depth. Drawing insights from Shakespeare’s life, the latest psychological research, and dramatic scenes from Hamlet, we will explore together how this therapeutic process contributed to the play’s enduring appeal.


Diane Dreher is a Professor of English at Santa Clara University. She did graduate work at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon and received a Ph.D. in English from UCLA, an M.A. in Counseling from Santa Clara University, and a B.A. in English from UC Riverside, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Her research agenda includes works on literature and spirituality, Eastern philosophy, leadership, and positive psychology with publications ranging from the bestselling Tao of Inner Peace to scholarly books and articles. In addition to her academic work, she is a writing and positive psychology coach, credentialed by the International Coach Federation.



William J. ClanceySaturday Morning, 9:30 am.

William J. Clancey, Ph.D. (Computer Science)

Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

The Okeanos Explorer: Robotically mediated field science beneath the sea and the art of travel

Using robotic systems operated from NOAA’s ship, the Okeanos Explorer, oceanographers are now able to explore the depths of Earth’s oceans without leaving their homes. Unlike missions on Mars, undersea robots can be tele-operated, communicating without noticeable delay, and an international remote science team can participate as the daily investigation unfolds. I present my observations from an ethnographic study conducted onboard during the American Samoa Expedition. The technology provides a multidisciplinary “collaboration system,” in which the ship’s officers and crew, robot engineers, oceanographers, and educators coordinate their activities during an expedition. The combination of video, phone, and social media provides great flexibility and a voice for everyone, including students, in how the investigation proceeds. Throughout, science, technology, and art are interwoven as the historic, poetic aspect of discovery is ever-present; and as in the first voyages of the South Pacific, exotic images inspire us with the romance of exploration.

William J. Clancey is a computer scientist whose research relates cognitive and social science in the study of work practices and the design of agent systems. He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Stanford University (1979) and Mathematical Sciences B.A. at Rice University (ΦBK, 1974). He has developed artificial intelligence applications for medicine, education, finance, robotics, and spaceflight systems. At the Institute for Research on Learning he co-developed ethnographic methods for modeling work systems. At NASA Ames Research Center as Chief Scientist of Human-Centered Computing, Intelligent Systems Division (1998-2013), his team automated file management between Mission Control and the International Space Station, receiving Johnson Space Center’s Exceptional Software Award. He is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, Association for Psychological Science, Association for Advancement of AI, and National Academy of Inventors. His book Working on Mars: Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers received the AIAA 2014 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award.


Henry ReichmanSaturday Afternoon, 1:30 pm.

Henry Reichman, Ph.D. (History), California State University, East Bay


The Future of Academic Freedom


The American concept of academic freedom was first fully articulated in 1915 by the founders of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in the context of the expanding economic and social inequality of corporate power associated with the Gilded Age. Conditions today are eerily similar. In 1915, only a handful of prominent full professors at elite institutions held an appointment carrying indefinite tenure, which the AAUP’s founders considered the strongest defense of academic freedom. But today, even if most colleges and universities provide tenure protections, they provide them for an ever-shrinking segment of the faculty. Add to this growing external threats from online harassers, external funders, and meddling governing boards and legislators, academic freedom may be more endangered today than at any time in the recent past. Since 2012 Henry Reichman has chaired the AAUP's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. His recent book, The Future of Academic Freedom, explores both current challenges to academic freedom and outlines why its defense is so important in a democratic society.

Henry Reichman is Chair of the AAUP's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure and Chair of the AAUP Foundation. From 2012 to 2018 he was AAUP's First Vice-President. An historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, he is Professor Emeritus of History at California State University, East Bay, where he taught for 25 years. At CSUEB he won the outstanding professor and faculty service awards and served three terms as chair of the academic senate, on the executive committee of the CSU system academic senate, and for nine years on the California Faculty Association's collective bargaining team. His book, The Future of Academic Freedom, was published in April 2019 by Johns Hopkins University Press. 

Joe LurieSaturday Evening, 7:30 pm.

Joe Lurie, M.A. (Communications)


Culture Clash in the Era of Globalization


Addressing the implications of the West African proverb, "The Stranger Sees Only What He Knows," the talk will explore the nature and sources of bias and misunderstanding in a hyper-connecting, often polarizing world. In a time of unprecedented contacts across cultures, author Joe Lurie will examine cultural disconnects with refugees and other immigrants and study the nature and implications of culture clash in the news of the day, in the worlds of diplomacy, politics, business, religion, health care and technology. In this process, we'll come to see and hear that more is meant than meets the eye or the ear.


Author of the award-winning Perception and Deception, A Mind-Opening Journey Across Cultures; former Peace Corps Volunteer, Joe Lurie is Executive Director Emeritus of the University of California Berkeley's International House, a dynamic multi-national residential program center serving the campus, local community, and 1,000 residents from 75-plus countries annually. Its mission is to foster intercultural respect and understanding for the promotion of a more peaceful world. He served in this role for two decades and subsequently has been an active teacher and intercultural trainer at UC Berkeley and consultant on cross-cultural communications. His work has been featured at the Commonwealth Club and on NPR, PBS and in Harper's Magazine and The Mercury News.

Robert SiegelSunday Morning, 10:00 am.

Robert Siegel, Ph.D. (Biology)


Robert Siegel received a Teaching Excellence Award from our Association in May 2019. He is constantly thinking about how he can help his students and genuinely cares about the future of each and every student. He even hosts Breakfast Meetings at his house, so students have the opportunity to speak with leading experts in the fields of Women’s Health, Infectious Disease, and Global Health. Through these discussions, students are inspired to address pressing issues in Global Health and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Siegel reminds his students that it’s never too early to think critically about issues that we feel passionate about, and more importantly, it’s never too early to change the world.





Grant BallardSunday Afternoon, 1:30 pm.

Grant Ballard, Ph.D. Biological Sciences, B.A., Chief Science Officer, Point Blue Conservation


Climate-smart conservation from Antarctica to California


As Chief Science Officer for Point Blue Conservation, Grant leads a number of projects investigating and communicating the effects of landscape-scale environmental stressors on ecosystems and human stakeholders in western North America and the Southern Ocean. Managing a team of 160 scientists, he is responsible for shaping and growing Point Blue's multi-investigator scientific research and conservation programs towards the vision that healthy ecosystems will continue to sustain thriving wildlife and human communities in California and beyond, on land and at sea, for decades to come. 





Ryane LogsdonSunday Evening, 7:30 pm.

Ryane Logsdon, Ph.D. Candidate, (Animal Behavior), University of California, Davis, also PBK

Robots, burlap, and habitat-mapping: Using technology to study animal communication


Ryane Logsdon was the recipient of a Scholarship from our Association in May 2019.  Animal communication has led to the evolution of some of the most incredible and diverse displays and behaviors in the natural world. Successful communication between animals is often critical to their continued survival; understanding the dynamic interactions between individuals - and the external factors that influence these dynamics - is important to establishing effective conservation and management strategies. However, conducting this research in the wild is often logistically challenging – the mere presence of a human can drastically alter an animal’s natural behaviors!


Logsdon’s doctoral research focuses on courtship behaviors in a declining species of bird, the greater sage-grouse. Through her dissertation, Logsdon utilizes a variety of tools – including biologically-realistic robot sage-grouse – that enable her to investigate natural courtship behaviors in the wild. This presentation will discuss how her research utilizes both high- and low-tech solutions to further understand the environmental influences on animal communication and the dynamics of inter-individual interactions in these wild birds.



[A male greater sage-grouse mid-display[A male greater sage-grouse mid-display. Photo by Ryane Logsdon.]


Ryane Logsdon is a Ph.D. candidate in the Animal Behavior Graduate Group (ABGG) at the University of California, Davis.  After receiving her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester, she held a series of research positions – studying lizard courtship, vampire bat social calls, and cognition in American crows – investigating various aspects of animal behavior. Ryane’s current doctoral research aims to investigate the interplay between habitat structure, social interactions, and courtship behavior using the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as a model system. Ryane is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, received the ΦBKNCA graduate scholarship, has published in top-tier journals, and has presented her research at international conferences. In addition to her doctoral work, Ryane enjoys volunteering to work with birds of prey at the California Raptor Center, writing for The Ethogram (the official blog of the ABGG), and teaching dance.

Website: RMLogsdon.wordpress.com


James RichardsonMonday Morning:

James Richardson, M.Div. (Theology), Dean, Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, also PBK

The Abolitionist’s Journal: The Life and Times of an American Anti-slavery Family


Methodist pastor George Richardson (1824-1911) left behind a 334-page journal richly detailing how he and his family used their home on the Underground Railroad to assist escaped slaves; his service as the white chaplain to an African American Union regiment in the Civil War; and then after the war, his family’s struggle to found a college for the formerly enslaved in Texas. The college was burned down by the Ku Klux Klan, chased out by the city of Dallas, and then reestablished in Austin where it thrives today as Huston-Tillotson University. His journal has prompted a decade-long search through family archives -- yet raises questions about how a family’s deep commitment to emancipation faded and disappeared in succeeding generations.


James Richardson is a former senior writer with The Sacramento Bee and the author of several books on California politics, including an acclaimed biography of the politician Willie Brown, published by the University of California Press. His newest book project heads into a new direction, exploring his family roots in the anti-slavery abolitionist movement of the 19th century. Richardson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA and has a Master of Divinity degree from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley. He is an Episcopal priest and is currently the interim Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento.


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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


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