About 40 graduates and juniors were inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society in Lisner Auditorium Friday for their outstanding academic achievements.
The Phi Beta Kappa society, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, recognizes students in liberal arts and sciences who have demonstrated academic excellence. Speakers encouraged inductees to contribute to society and to be ambassadors for the liberal arts beyond their college years.
Frederick Lawrence, the secretary and chief executive officer of Phi Beta Kappa, recounted the founding of the secret society in a Virginia tavern in 1776. He said the five founding members of Phi Beta Kappa have expanded to more 500,000 members worldwide.
“They include 17 American Presidents, 41 Supreme Court justices and over 140 Nobel laureates,” Lawrence said. “You are all most worthy additions to that group and we are proud of each and every one of you.”
Lawrence encouraged graduates to embody the Phi Beta Kappa saying, “Love of learning is the pilot of life,” by being productive in their work and living a life exemplary of the society.
Jeffery Brand, the president of the Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, acknowledged the families of inductees for helping graduates through their academic careers with financial contributions and moral support.
Brand, who is also the associate dean for graduate studies at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and an associate professor of philosophy, said the criteria of induction into the society involves both achieving academic excellence and taking on a diverse course load.
“Phi Beta Kappa is about more than just a high GPA,” Brand said. “To be a member of Phi Beta Kappa, you can’t only be good at one thing.”
Teresa Murphy, the deputy provost for academic affairs, encouraged students to “press beyond the superficial” and use their intellect to enact change.
“Being a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society carries with it a call to action,” Murphy said. “You have a special responsibility to use your natural intelligence and your gift for academic excellence to contribute to our world.”
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