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Stetson’s Phi Beta Kappa Inducts 33 New Members

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The year 2016 heralds a robust cohort of 33 new members inducted into the nation’s oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honor society–Phi Beta Kappa. Since its founding in 1776, PBK has accumulated numerous prestigious members, including United States Presidents, Supreme Court Justices and Nobel Laureates. Membership is for life and requires students to meet the highest standards for academic achievement and character, including a 3.7 G.P.A., at least 100 credits in approved courses in the liberal arts and sciences and credit for language proficiency at the 201 level or above. Earlier in the month, Stetson University President Wendy B. Libby, Ph.D., and her husband Richard Libby, Ph.D., invited new members to an intimate reception at their home. The initiation ceremony itself was held in the main gallery of the Gillespie Museum, Fri. Apr. 15.

“About eight percent of colleges in the U.S. have been approved for chapters. Stetson was approved in 1982, becoming the first private college in Florida to have a chapter. A college’s membership in Phi Beta Kappa is a highly regarded honor, and individual membership is also widely recognized,” explained Grady Ballenger, Ph.D., professor of English and president of Stetson’s chapter of PBK. “The actual ceremony is brief but lovely, with delightful if ancient and venerable traditions, including a ‘secret handshake’ and a charge led by Karen Ryan, Ph.D., PBK member and dean of Stetson’s College of Arts & Sciences. Every member in this lot has a great story.”

Alexa Grohowski, for example, is co-principal violist in Stetson University’s Orchestra and nominee for many senior awards. She has been chosen by the very selective Japan English Teacher (JET) program to teach in Japan beginning this summer.

“My induction into PBK is a reminder from the world outside my mind that others have recognized my progress and commended me for it,” said Grohowski. “It’s a validation of all those quiet, determined moments in which I decided to do something well, not just well enough.”

For many years, Phi Beta Kappa has hosted the annual Visiting Scholars program. The program has featured a wide range of academicians chosen by PBK national leadership for their outstanding contributions to the liberal arts. Recent participants include David Schmidtz, Ph.D., Kendrick Professor at the University of Arizona with a focus on philosophy and economics, and Richard Sylla, Ph.D., Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets at New York University. PBK also organizes informal conversations called Deliberating About Things That Matter.

Terry Grieb, assistant professor of instructional media, who has shepherded the chapter as secretary/treasurer, will retire from his position this year.

“Retiring is bittersweet, especially since I am the last charter member to do so,” said Grieb. “Since accepting this office in the 1980s, I’ve seen a lot of activities. “But the most important and satisfying has been the parade of high-achieving students we have initiated over the years.”

Melinda Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, who has served as vice president of PBK, will now serve as the chapter’s president.

“I am thrilled to pick up this responsibility,” said Hall. “Under the strong leadership of previous president Dr. Ballenger, the chapter has grown steadily. I look forward to continuing to identify and award extremely accomplished students in liberal arts majors and programs, who exemplify a love of learning, felicity with foreign language and a commitment to integrity. I am also honored to continue working toward an increasingly high profile for the chapter across campus. With PBK chapter members, including senior student leaders and faculty, our chapter will host lecturers and collaborative conversations dealing with timely topics.”

For more information visit Stetson University’s PBK website here or contact Hall at mchall@stetson.edu, or call 386-740-2507.

The full list of new members is as follows:

  • Joseph Beery, Philosophy and Russian Studies – (junior)
  • Austin Burket, Orchestral Instrument and Chemistry
  • Miranda Camp, Aquatic & Marine Biology and Environmental Science & Geography
  • Christina Canalizo, History
  • Kerstin Cook, International Studies
  • Kathryn Coulter, Political Science and Mathematics
  • Jason Cruz, English and Philosophy (junior)
  • Katie Dezes, English
  • John Dieck, History and Philosophy
  • Maxwell Droznin, Russian Studies
  • Malorie Edge, Biology
  • Anja Erwin, Biology
  • Jaime Fields, Chemistry
  • Alexa Grohowski, English
  • Daniel Humphrey, Political Science and Economics
  • Heather Lee, Biochemistry
  • Eduardo Lopez, Molecular Biology
  • Anthony McRae, Political Science
  • Ellie Macchione, Psychology
  • Whitney Meyers, Biology
  • Jake Moore, English
  • Neri Ordaz, Russian Studies and Economics
  • Jacqueline Pollack, Integrative Health Science
  • Nicole Rivera-Montanez, Psychology and Voice
  • Zachary Rosson, Physics
  • Madison Tormey, Integrative Health Science
  • Isabela Vicentino, Biology
  • Madeline Welsh, History
  • Benjamin Chase, Biology and Environmental Science
  • Dominique Drager, Integrative Health Science
  • Kathryn Nathenson, History and Environmental Studies
  • Tabitha Petri, Biology and Environmental Science
  • Daniel Urena, Political Science

by George Salis