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December 2018 Newsletter

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Time to renew or rejoin

If you haven’t yet joined or renewed your membership,
it is time to contribute now. Mail your check in the enclosed envelope or go to https://www.pbknca.org/contribute/

W e 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 is 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 2018. Go to https://www.pbknca.org/scholarship/ for more about these worthy students.

William Callison, Yvanka de Soysa, Jordan Eizenga, Lelia Glass, Marie Paulina Hartono

Lisbet Ramirez-Chavez, Kerry Shannon, Shiran Victoria Shen, Kathryn Wilsterman

Adam Lichtenheld - Not able to attend
Kevin Moch - Not able to attend
Jeremy Nowak - Not able to attend

In addition to scholarship awards, we honor faculty members nominated by their ΦBK students. In 2018, the following five received a certificate and an honorarium. Go to http://www.pbknca.org/teaching/teaching.winners.phi.beta.kappa.pbk.php for more about these distinguished teachers.


Ron E. Hassner, Kinch Hoekstra, Naomi Janowitz, Martha Olney, Jon D. Rossini

From the President

Mary GillilandAs 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 2019. 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 contri-bution via PayPal 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 2017, your renewal is due now.

If you are a 2018 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 Uni-versities of California at Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz, and the University of the Pacific – you receive a free membership for three years and won’t need to renew until November 2021. (see https://www.pbknca.org/initiate/)

Every membership contribution is totally tax-deductible. We do NOT receive any funds from the Phi Beta Kap-pa Society in Washington, D.C., and a donation to them does not confer membership in our Association. Your generosity enables us to fund Graduate Student scholarships and Teaching Excellence awards, to be presented at our Annual Dinner on May 5, 2019.
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, Judy Hardardt, has a wonderful array of excursions, mu-seums, and behind-the-scenes visits planned. You'll meet other ΦBK-NCA members and discover hidden treas-ures in our own backyard. Join us over Presidents' Weekend (15-18 February 2019) at the beautiful Asi-lomar in Pacific Grove for our annual retreat weekend (see page 3). Deirdre Frontczak has rounded up a remarkable 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 also are 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 as lit-tle as one day (Audit Committee, being host at an activity) to as many hours as you are able to give. All posi-tions are rewarding and all volunteers are appreciated. 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 su-perb organization. Thank you for your generosity.

Mary Turner Gilliland, President, Mltg@aol.com

Information about our event enrollment, refund and cancellation policies
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.

If you subsequently can’t make an event, others may be waiting. Kindly notify Judy Hardardt, First Vice Presi-dent – Programs, Davis, cell (707) 696-9498, hardardtj@gmail.com

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.

How to make reservations
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
EVENT - Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma. Sunday Matinee, December 16, 2018

Cinnabar Theater - Love, LindaLove, Linda: The Life Of Mrs. Cole Porter is a the-atrical and musical adventure about the life of Linda Lee Thomas, the socialite wife of composer Cole Porter. Musical numbers include the hits So In Love, I Love Paris, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, Night and Day, Wunderbar, and many more.

The great songs of Cole Porter are ingeniously interwoven with captivating story-telling by his beautiful and glamorous wife played by the acclaimed Maureen McVeery of San Francisco.

Though Cole Porter was gay, their companionship and love lasted through 35 years of marriage and together they lived a spectacular, glamour-filled life. Peek behind the glitter of her sensational life with her brilliant husband, to experience a unique, some-times difficult but always love-filled marriage. As she tells us, “Just because a love between two peo-ple may be difficult to define, that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.”
Date:               Sunday, December 16, 2018
Deadline:         November 28
Time:              2:00 pm matinee (arrive by 1:30 pm)
Minimum:      10, Maximum: 20
Cost:               $40.00

Directions:      3333 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, www.cinnabartheater.org/visit/

Register OnLine
Register By Mail

EVENT - 33rd Annual Asilomar Conference is coming Feb 1518, 2019

The 33rd Annual Asilomar Conference is coming Feb 15–18, 2019

Beach headerAsilomar once again beckons! This year’s conference reminds 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.


A preview of the 2019 speakers:

“All life is but a canvas for our imagination.”  -- Thoreau 

Friday Evening, 7:30 pm.
Shannon Vallor, Ph.D.
How to Cultivate Humane Machines – and People

The spread of commercially viable artificial intelligence brings dizzying consequences for every sociotechnical system, from finance and transportation to healthcare and warfare. Less often discussed is the growing impact of AI on human practices of self-cultivation, those critical to the development of intellectual and moral virtues. Today, AI is weaponized in Trojan-horse attacks aimed at the root of our democratic virtues, designed to surreptitiously enter, mediate and gradually subvert the practices of public discourse by which civic virtues of trust, solidarity, charity, honesty, and justice are built and sustained. Through games and social media, AI is also being weaponized against our persons, to stall from an early age the cultivation of the virtues of patience, self-control, and intellectual and moral discernment.

Yet while AI mediation can impede or denature self-cultivation practices, it also has the potential to amplify and sustain them. Humanizing AI design could provide reliable mirrors and feedback channels that foster more honest self-appraisals of our character. It could mediate newly creative practices of moral and intellectual modeling and imagination. It could reinforce more sustainable moral and intellectual habits. It could detect, signal, and perhaps even mediate fraying civic and personal relations. This talk poses the questions: is a world with humanizing machines possible? Desirable? If so, how can we build it?

Shannon Vallor is the Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor of Philosophy at Santa Clara University, where she researches the ethics of emerging technologies. She is the author of Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting, Oxford University Press (2016), and she is editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Technology. She serves on the executive leadership team of the non-profit Foundation for Responsible Robotics, and regularly advises technologists, legislators, and policymakers on ethical issues in technology practice.


Saturday Morning, 9:30 am.
Frederick M. Lawrence, J.D.
The Nature of the University

Throughout the history of American higher education, the law has played a crucial role in defining the scope, mission and very nature of colleges and universities. Nearly 200 years ago, in Dartmouth College v Woodward (1819), Chief Justice John Marshall laid the legal foundation of institutions of higher learning in the new republic, addressing the question of “who is the college?” Is it the current Board of Trustees? Is it the founding Board? To this question, Marshall famously answered that the charter of Dartmouth College had created an “artificial immortal being.”  Unlike another abstract entity created by the law, the corporation whose duties are to its shareholders, the university owes its duties to all its constituencies – students, faculty, alumni, staff, and even beyond to the community, nation, and world – and its “ownership” transcends any specific group of individuals.

Frederick M. Lawrence is the 10th Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s first and most prestigious honor society, founded in 1776. Lawrence is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Georgetown Law Center, and has previously served as president of Brandeis University, Dean of the George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor and Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018 and the American Law Institute in 1999.

An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, Lawrence is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression and bias crimes. Lawrence has published widely and lectured internationally. He is the author of Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law (Harvard University Press 1999), examining bias-motivated violence and the laws governing how such violence is punished in the United States. He is an opinion contributor to The Hill and US News, frequently contributes op-eds to various other news sources, such as Newsweek, the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Observer, the NY Daily News and The Huffington Post, and has appeared on CNN among other networks. Read more...

  Saturday Afternoon, 1:30 pm.

Lynn Cominsky, Ph.D. (Physics)

Spacetime Symphony: Gravitational Waves from Merging Binaries 

In 1915, Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity. In this theory, gravity is not a force, but a property of space and time in the presence of massive objects. A century later, on September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) received the first confirmed gravitational wave signals. Now known as GW150914, the event represents the coalescence of two distant black holes that were previously in mutual orbit. LIGO's exciting discovery provides direct evidence of what is arguably the last major unconfirmed prediction of Einstein's Theory and has launched the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy. The LIGO team she's on won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 2017. Lynn Cominsky will present an introduction to LIGO, gravitational waves and black holes. She will also discuss the most recent gravitational wave detection results reported from LIGO. 


Lynn Cominsky grew up in the snows of Buffalo NY, and studied Chemistry and Physics at Brandeis University, subsequently working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. When she found out that she could get paid for studying black holes, she went to MIT to obtain her Ph.D. in physics, finally moving to California. Lynn has been on the faculty at Sonoma State University for over 30 years, where she is now Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and director and founder of SSU's Education and Public Outreach group. She and her husband, also a physicist, live on a ranch in Sonoma County where they serve a variety of horses, chickens, cats, a goat and other country creatures.


Saturday Evening, 7:30 pm.

Laura Marello, M.A. (Literature)

Women of the Lighthouse


In 1856, when Charles Layton was shot while working in a sheriff’s posse, his wife Charlotte Layton took over his duties at Pt. Pinos Light in Monterey. When Charlotte retired from the lighthouse, Emily Fish took over the Pt. Pinos Lighthouse-keeping duties. Laura Hecox took over Santa Cruz Light from her father Adna, keeping the post until her death fifty years later. Fish saw the development of Monterey into a boom town, ran her own artists’ salon, and leased much of the lighthouse land to developer David Jacks, to graze cattle. Hecox was a Naturalist who amassed a sizeable collection of artifacts and corresponded with many of the marine scientists of her day.


Based on seventeen years’ research, I created lives for these women in a novel, where I allow them to tell their own stories.  This talk will narrate that research, and describe the story-telling process.


Laura Marello is the author of several books. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, and a Fine Arts Work Center Provincetown Fellowship, and she has enjoyed residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, Millay, Montalvo and Djerassi. Her first novel, Claiming Kin, was a finalist for the Paterson Prize in fiction; another, The Gender of Inanimate Objects (2015) was shortlisted for the Saroyan Prize at Stanford University Library. Laura is Phi Beta Kappa 2006, U.C. Santa Cruz, and currently teaches creative writing at Lynchburg College in Virginia.


Steve HollingsworthSunday Morning, 10:00 am.
Steve Hollingworth, M.A. Economics (Development) Grameen Foundation
How can digital technology empower the world’s poorest women?

Of the global population of 7.6 billion people, over 5 billion subscribe to mobile services. These services are transformative, connecting people to information, education, entertainment, emergency services, financial services, and each other. But what about those who aren’t connected?  A recent report finds that 1.2 billion women in low- and middle-income countries do not use mobile internet and nearly one billion women, compared to about 700,000 men, are unable to access formal financial services of any kind. Grameen Foundation works to close these gaps.

What is the journey of a woman in a rural village who moves from relative isolation to accessing growing networks of connection with formal financial, agricultural and health services? What role does big data—and data privacy—play in this transformation?  And how can we and our partners ensure that the solutions developed are sustainable and scalable? We will probe these questions, delving into pilots and programs that drive forward new breakthroughs for the world’s poor.

Steve Hollingworth is President and CEO of Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization whose mission is to enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger.  He has worked in international development for 30 years, with a focus on the delivery of financial services to benefit the world’s poorest people. Previously, Steve served as President of Freedom from Hunger, and as Chief Operating Officer for CARE. He has an M.S. in Economics, Development Studies, from Victoria University of Manchester, and a B.A. from Augustana College, where he was inducted into ΦBK. 


Sunday afternoon, open

Maybe a good time for a walk on the beach? There are lovely walks along the coast, or some shorter paths as described below:

Asilomar State Beach is a narrow, one-mile strip of sandy beach and rocky coves. A ¾ mile coast walking trail is open to pedestrians. Dogs ARE permitted on the state beach and the coast trail, but must be leashed at all times and be in the immediate control of the handler. The trail is accessible and a beach wheelchair is available upon request at the Registration Desk.

Across the street from Asilomar State Beach is Asilomar Dunes Natural Preserve, where a landmark stile stands at the gateway to this preserve and the Asilomar Conference Grounds. A ¼ mile boardwalk meanders through 25 acres of restored sand dune ecosystem where visitors can discover the native plant greenhouse where more than 450,000 plants, representing 25 species, have been grown and planted in the effort to preserve the dunes and coastal bluffs. Several boardwalk outlooks provide panoramic views of Asilomar State Beach and the blue Pacific Ocean.


Sunday Evening, 7:30 pm.
Robert Hartwell, Ph.D. Music
Mozart and Mythology

It has been 228 years since one of humanity’s greatest geniuses was buried in an unmarked grave on the outskirts of Vienna. Since that time, few figures in history have been so surrounded by myths, half-truths, and sheer nonsense.  How, for example, does one square the notion of Mozart’s financial desperation with his $200,000+ annual earnings?  In the process of debunking those myths, we will look both at the truths that generated them and the culture that perpetuates them—this against a soundtrack of surpassing masterpieces.

Robert Hartwell holds a doctorate in music education from Columbia University. As Professor of Music at Foothill College, he specializes in welcoming the uninitiated into the world of classical music, and pioneered Foothill College’s innovative course in popular culture.  Dr. Hartwell has co-authored a three-volume series on the history of Western music, and was a contributory author to The Quarterly Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute and the New Pedagogies in Higher Education series Hartwell is a regular guest lecturer at the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, and is a pre-performance lecturer for the San Francisco Opera

Lee PanichMonday Morning

Lee Panich, Ph.D.

New insights into the lives of Native Californians at Spanish missions


Recent archaeological investigations at Spanish missions in the San Francisco Bay area provide new insights into the lives of Native Californians during the colonial period. While archival documents offer evidence of the overall impacts of the mission system on California’s indigenous societies, few observers wrote about the daily lives of the thousands of men, women, and children who inhabited the missions. Through excavations within the native rancherías associated with Missions Santa Clara and San José, archaeologists are filling in the gaps in the documentary record to reveal the persistence of indigenous cultural practices. The material evidence offers clues to clandestine activities within the mission estate as well as previously undocumented connections to autonomous communities in the colonial hinterlands. These findings encourage us to rethink the scholarly and popular portrayal of so-called Mission Indians.


Lee Panich is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Santa Clara University. His research focuses on the experiences of indigenous groups during the colonial period, with a particular focus on the Spanish mission system in California and Baja California. He is the co-editor of Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions (2014) and the author of more than two dozen scholarly articles and book chapters on the archaeology of colonialism. Lee holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2001.

EVENT - PBKNCA Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. Sunday, May 5, 2019 Bancroft Hotel, Berkeley

Bancroft HotelWe are in the planning stages of the Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. We have decided to go to a luncheon rather than dinner for several reasons including cost and daytime travel. As you are aware, the annual meeting is the occasion when we celebrate ΦBKNCA’s primary mission—the awarding of Scholarship awards to deserving scholars and Teaching Excellence awards to professors, fulfilling ΦBKNCA’s objective to enhance scholars’ educational and research activities and to honor those who are teaching our next generation.

Date:               Sunday, May 5, 2019
Deadline:        April 19, 2019
Time:              12:00 Noon (subject to change).
Cost:               $40.00 (estimated, subject to change)
Location:        Bancroft Hotel, Berkeley

Complete information will be provided in next Newsletter.  Block out the date on your calendars now & stay tuned!

Nominations for the Teaching Excellence Award for spring 2019 are being accepted now

We are seeking nominations for this prestigious award, which carries an honorarium as well as a certificate. Please nominate a professor you consider outstanding: someone who taught an especially memorable course or who impressed you as an unusually skilled educator, who had a special impact on your education, career, or life, or whom you found inspiring and admirable. Making such a nomination is an appropriate and satisfying way of expressing your gratitude to that person. Awardees nominated in 2019 will be honored at the FBKNCA awards dinner in May 2019. (See page two). Faculty members of any rank (including lecturers and emeriti) at the following schools are eligible for nomina-tion: Mills College, San Francisco State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and The University of the Pacific. Please give as complete information as possible. Your nominees need not be Phi Beta Kappa members. You may make more than one nomination, but please use a separate form for each nomination you make. Nominations for spring 2019 must be received by November 30, 2018. Please use the webform at www.pbknca.org/teaching/ (preferred), or the hardcopy available by printing the pdf there. Narcinda Lerner, Teaching Excellence Chair

PBK Board July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019

Mary Turner Gilliland, President
 Menlo Park, (650) 321-9966, Mltg@aol.com
Judy Hardardt, First Vice President – Programs
 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