Phi Beta Kappa inducts new members today

By Meghan Finlayson

Staff Writer

Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prominent honor society, will induct 45 new members today. Phi Beta Kappa is an academic honor society that celebrates and advocates for individuals who have exemplified outstanding excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.

Phi Beta Kappa has chapters at campuses across America, and the University’s chapter was established in 1940. The society was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, and only the most outstanding arts and science students are invited to join. Thirty-eight Supreme Court Justices, 17 U.S. Presidents and 136 Nobel laureates are members.

“The main role of the society today is to be an advocate for excellence in the liberal arts and sciences,” said Emily Dryden, secretary of Phi Beta Kappa Society and assistant professor of mathematics.

The campus chapter acts as an advocate for the liberal arts. “The national organization has several speaker programs in place, and our chapter has been successful at having these outstanding scholars visit Bucknell and interact with students, faculty and the community,” Dryden said.

The process is very selective. Those who wish to be inducted must show a passionate attitude towards their lives as students.

“When selecting new members, we seek students who have shown a broad commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and have succeeded in challenging courses from all academic divisions,” said Tom Cassidy, chapter Phi Beta Kappa President and associate professor of mathematics. “I particularly like the fact that this society has maintained many of its wonderful old traditions while playing an active role in promoting contemporary learning and scholarship.”

There are many advantages that come from being selected.

“Being in the society gave me the opportunity to meet and work with the professors at Bucknell that are in Phi Beta Kappa,” said Trang Tran ’11, member of the honors thesis award committee.

Six juniors and 39 seniors will be inducted today. The ceremony will involve some background and history of Phi Beta Kappa, and short speeches from President Bravman and Alf Siewers, Associate Professor of English. In addition, the new members will sign the official membership book that is stored in the University Archives.

“Its initiates must demonstrate not only great depth of knowledge but also great breadth of studies. They must demonstrate a true commitment to and love of learning,” said Erin Sculley ’11, member of the nominations committee. “Most students inducted are inducted in April and graduate a month later, but membership is something you will carry with you throughout your lifetime.”

There will be a short reception following the ceremony, allowing everyone to celebrate and  meet the new members.

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