Nearly 200 graduating seniors were inducted Friday afternoon into the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity, the country’s most prestigious honor society.
University President Steven Knapp said the honor society – which accepts only 10 percent of graduates from universities involved with the organization – boasts a membership of 17 presidents as well as many distinguished GW graduates, including Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and actress Kerry Washington.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman charged the new members to heed the motto of Phi Beta Kappa: “Love of learning is the guide of life.”
Lehman commended the new initiates on their hard work and discipline and urged them to approach their lives with the same zeal they applied to their schoolwork.
“Each of you can find your own unique way to provide your own contribution to society,” Lehman said. “Phi Beta Kappa is a key. It is up to you what doors you want to open with it.”
Former president of the D.C. area Phi Beta Kappa Association Christel McDonald also spoke at the induction. McDonald told amusing stories of her first years as a Phi Beta Kappa initiate, also mentioning the importance of the key.
“Wear it with pride. It will be your companion for the rest of your life. And if you lose it, you can order one over the Internet,” McDonald said.
She also urged new inductees to be active in their membership and to take advantage of the experiences of fellow Phi Beta Kappa graduates.
“Phi Beta Kappa graduates young and old are out there waiting for you to join them,” McDonald said. “We are all waiting for you.”