PBK Logo

September 2018 Newsletter

Click the titles below for sections of this Newsletter

Or go here for the PDF Newsletter
or Website
From The President

Mary GillilandI hope all of you have had a good summer, in spite of the awful fires. I know that some of our members live in the areas affected by them and hope you and your neighbors have stayed safe. We thank you for being a mem-ber of our Northern California Association. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to be of assistance.
Judy Hardardt, our First Vice–President for Programs, has planned some wonderful excursions for us around the Bay Area. See the Events page for descriptions. Then conveniently signup online at www.pbknca.org/events/ to save a stamp and get an instant receipt. Or if you want, you can, fill in in a coupon to send with your check for registration. I hope to see you at some of these great Learning Experiences.
In May, we will confer scholarships on worthy graduate students from some of our associated campus Chapters. The hard work of Second Vice President–Scholarships, Joanne Sandstrom, and her committee (and your mone-tary contributions) make this possible. My thanks to all members who have given generously to our scholarship program during the past year and before.
For faculty members at the universities in our Association area that have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, we accept nominations for our Teaching Excellence awards. If you
were motivated, impressed, or enthralled by a teacher at any of those schools, please nominate him/her for a Teaching Excellence award, using the form available at www.pbknca.org/teaching. Teaching Excellence Chair Narcinda Lerner awaits your input.
We encourage you to attend our annual weekend symposium February 15-18, 2019 at Asilomar (Pacific Grove). We will enjoy hearing speakers on a variety of subjects from literature to science and everything in between, have fascinating conversations, and marvel at nature’s magnificence. Asilomar Chair Deirdre Frontczak will be delighted to receive your reservation. All profits from the symposium go to our award programs. See page four.

Mary Turner Gilliland, President 2011-19

45th Triennial Council Meeting

Mary GillilandThe ΦBK Council convened at the Westin Hotel Copley Square in Boston, Mass., from 2 to 4 August 2018. The final tally of attendance showed 288 voting delegates from Chapters and Associations, and Senators and Past Presidents. A total of 325 people were registered for the event. (I assume that included staff from the office in Washington, D.C., as they were numerous.)
The first meeting was of District representatives; I attended the Western District one, led by Ann Marie Anderson of Phoenix, and passed out our informational “business cards” that we distribute at Inductions. They were well received, and I think that they may be copied by other Districts. (Good job, Judy Hardardt!) The 250th anniversary of ΦBK will occur in 2026, and Districts were told to start planning events soon.

The Association Delegates’ Meeting was next, led by Laura Hartnett from the national office. Two new Associations were introduced, Oregon and Southern Nevada, each of which has only one Chapter. (Currently there are 286 Chapters and 52 Associations nationwide.) Voting was held on Senatorial candidates, one of which was our own Judy Hardardt, for a Senator-at-Large position. Fifteen people ran for that position, of whom only seven were elected, not including Judy. Darn!
All Delegates voted on four new Chapters, all of which were approved, at Chapman University (Orange, CA), Loyola Marymount (Los Angeles, CA), Mississippi State U. (Starksville, MS) and the University of South Florida (Tampa, FL). Schools requesting Chapters must have at least 10% of their Arts & Sciences teaching faculty be ΦBK members, among other considerations.

On Saturday morning, ΦBK Secretary (CEO) Fred Lawrence, known to many NCA members from his presentations at Asilomar, spoke on “Looking Forward.” We should all lead a Meaningful, Productive, and Engaged Life. (Volunteers for Association activities, anyone?) We also heard from Andrea Weiss on “Keys to Advocacy in Complicated Times,” and from George Anders on “You Can Do Anything.” I’m hoping we can get one or both of them to speak to NCA in the future. Anders did speak at the last Asilomar and was well received.

The final set of breakout sessions for Associations were on “Handing Over the Keys” (Board Succession Planning) and “Keeping Up with Your Key Connections: Engaging Young Professionals.” We in NCA already do most of what was suggested! We are definitely a stellar group.

Mary Turner Gilliland, President 2011-19

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

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. Directions are available from the event websites, Google.com, Mapquest.com or your GPS.

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.

If you subsequently can’t make an event, others may be waiting. Kindly notify O'Neil S. Dillon, M.D. – Pro-grams, for NASA, cell 510-207-8761, oneilsdillon@gmail.com. For the other events, notify Judy Hardardt, First Vice President – Programs, Davis, cell (707) 696-9498, hardardtj@gmail.com

Key Connections for Younger Phi Betes

ΦBK Younger Phi Betes Special EventKey Connections

The Entrepreneurial Spirit—“How To”
While there’s no guarantee, learn how success was achieved by some who did make it! Join us. Snacks and drinks for all attendees.
Register and get more information online at www.pbknca.org/events/

Wednesday, Sept 5, 6:00 to 7:30 pm (Berkeley, At Takara Sake USA, 708 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA)
Register OnLine

Thursday Sept 6, 5:30 to 7:00 pm (Menlo Park,
At Coffeebar, 1149 Chestnut Street, Menlo Park, CA)
Register OnLine


NASA Aims Research Visitor Center

Robotic ArmMoffett Field, CA near Mountain View.
Good for kids and grandkids as well.

NASA’s Ames Research Center is a key facility for many of NASA’s missions and projects. In the Visitor center you can see and learn about:
1. A spherical projection system that offers a new look at the planets in the Universe.
2. An actual piece of the moon brought back from the Apollo 15 mission.
3. The Mercury Redstone 1A capsule from the last unmanned test flight.
4. Living and working in space.
5. The Kepler mission and the discovery of potential new planets.
6. The Sofia Infrared Astronomy project enhancing the space telescope system.
7. Other NASA projects and missions.
There is a concurring big event featuring speakers from NASA, so instead of seeing a video, we can select a speaker to include in our event.  It goes from 12 to 4, so people can stay on for as long as they may want, to hear other speakers.
Website: https://www.nasa.gov/ames
Date:               Saturday, September 22, 2018
Time:              12:00 pm (plan to arrive no later 11:30 am for check-in before the tour begins) 
Deadline:        September 15, 2018
Cost:               $10.00
Directions: From Highway 101: Exit at 'Moffett Blvd / NASA Parkway', then turn right onto Moffett Blvd. and proceed to the four-way stop sign at the main gate.

From Highway 85: From Highway 85 Northbound, exit at 'Moffett Blvd' and then turn right onto Moffett Blvd. and proceed to the four-way stop sign at the main gate.

Contact: O'Neil S. Dillon, M.D. – Programs, cell 510-207-8761, oneilsdillon@gmail.com

Register OnLine
Register By Mail


Cruise On The Jeremiah O'Brien. Sunday October 7, 2018

Jeremiah O'Brien Launched June 19, 1943 the SS Jeremiah O'Brien is the last unaltered Liberty ship, a veteran of the Normandy invasion, fully restored and maintained in her original condition.  The ship is a National Historic Landmark.  She and her triple expansion reciprocating steam engine are a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

Visit us online at www.ssjeremiahobrien.org.

In June 1943, the Liberty Ship S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien slid down the ways at the New England Shipbuilding Corporation in South Portland, Maine. Shortly thereafter, she entered service, operated by Grace Line for the War Shipping Administration. Named for the first American to capture a British naval vessel during the Revolutionary War, the O'Brien made seven World War II voyages, ranging from England and Northern Ireland to South America, to India, to Australia. She also made eleven crossings of the English Channel carrying personnel and supplies to the Normandy beaches in support of the D-Day invasion. After the war, she was "mothballed" and laid up in the Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, north of San Francisco.

San Francisco Fleet Week is an annual public event that honors the contributions of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces while advancing cooperation and knowledge among civilian and military-based Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response personnel. The O'Brien participates in the SF Fleet Week Cruise around San Francisco Bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge for amazing views of the San Francisco waterfront, the visiting Navy ships, and the air show featuring the US Navy Blue Angels.
Includes food and drinks, starting at 9 am (boarding) and ending 5 pm.  Cost per person $150.

Date:               Sunday, October 7, 2018
Time:              9:00 am (plan to arrive no later 8:30 am for check-in before the tour begins)
Minimum:      10, Maximum: 20
Deadline:        September 17
Cost:               $150.00
Directions:     Click here (https://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/pages/fleet-week-cruise-sunday)

Register OnLine
Register By Mail


Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma. Sunday Matinee, December 16, 2018

Cinnabar Theater - Love, LindaThe great songs of Cole Porter are ingeniously interwoven with captivating story-telling by his beautiful and glamorous wife, Linda Lee. Peek behind the glitter of her sensational life with her brilliant husband, to experience a unique, sometimes difficult but always love-filled marriage. As she tells us, “Just because a love between two people may be difficult to define, that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.” Musical numbers include the hits So In Love, I Love Paris, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, Night and Day, Wunderbar, and many more.


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

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.

More details will posted online about this wonderful event at www.pbknca.org/asilomar. It is not too early to sign up now! The coupon is on page 12 and online registration is available at www.pbknca.org/asilomar.


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.
Fred 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.

Fred Lawrence is the Secretary / CEO of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, and Visiting Professor of Law at the Yale School of Law.  A leading expert on civil rights, free expression, and hate crimes, he is the author of “Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law” (Harvard University Press). Lawrence has served as president of Brandeis University (2011 -15), dean and professor of law at George Washington University Law School (2005–10), and professor of law at Boston University School of Law (1988–2005).  He contributes frequent op-eds to news sources such as the Boston Globe, MSNBC Online and the Huffington Post, and has testified before Congress on bias crimes and the freedom of expression.


  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.


Sunday 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

Monday Morning: We are working on this!
Deirdre Frontczak, Asilomar Chair

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!

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