Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta KappaAs the nation's oldest academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776, is dedicated to promoting excellence in the liberal arts. Phi Beta Kappa chapters are allowed to elect a maximum of 10 percent of their institution's graduating class to join each year. Less than one percent of college graduates nationwide are admitted, and fewer than 10 percent of colleges and universities are privileged to shelter Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Saint Michael's College was invited by the Phi Beta Kappa organization to establish a chapter in August 2003. As the Gamma chapter of Vermont, Saint Michael's is one of only three Vermont institutions to have Phi Beta Kappa chapters: The University of Vermont (Alpha) and Middlebury College (Beta) are the other two. Of the 220 Catholic colleges in the country, only 20 have chapters, four of which are in New England: Saint Michael’s, Boston College, Holy Cross and Fairfield.

To be considered, an institution must have a faculty with at least 10 percent Phi Beta Kappa members. Criteria for selection include quality of faculty and their research, quality of students and extent of student research, as well as success of students in gaining fellowships and admission to graduate or professional programs. Also considered are honors programs and library quality.

More Information: Choosing a College: Why Phi Beta Kappa Matters

For a list of current student members at Saint Michael's, see Inductees.

If you have any questions about the Vermont Gamma chapter, please contact:

Nathaniel Lew, President,

John Kenney, Secretary,

The Induction Ceremony for new members will take place Friday, April 10, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. in McCarthy Recital Hall.

The induction address is "A Walk Around 'The Waking'", given by William H. Marquess, Instructor of English. Refreshments to follow.

On April 7, 2014, John Churchill, National Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, gave a talk entitled "What's At Stake: The Arts and Sciences in American Higher Education".

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lecture by Visiting Scholar Dr. Sarah Keller
How Playing with Unrealistically Simple Systems Gives Insight into Real Cell Membranes

Sarah Keller is a biophysicist who investigates self-assembling soft condensed matter systems. Recently, her research has focused on how simple lipid mixtures within bilayer membranes give rise to complex phase behavior. She joined the department of chemistry at the University of Washington in 2000 and is the recipient of the department's 2004 Outstanding Teaching Award, as well as the university's 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award. She is also currently the Associate Dean for Research Activities for the UW College of Arts and Sciences. Her research has been recognized by the Avanti Young Investigator Award (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); the Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award (Biophysical Society); a Cottrell Scholar Award (Research Corporation); and a CAREER Award (National Science Foundation). In 2011 she was elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences and was named a fellow of the American Physical Society.

George DameronOn Friday, April 20, 2012 in McCarthy Arts Center, in addition to the induction of our Chapter's newest mambers, Dr. George Dameron, Saint Michael's College Professor of History and Department Chair, gave the talk entitled: "Becoming Invisible: Economic History and the Past, Present and Future of Medieval Studies."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lecture by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, Michael McCormick

Michael McCormick

Michael McCormick, historian and archaeologist of the late Roman Empire and early medieval Europe, taught at Johns Hopkins University from 1979 to 1991, and was a research associate at Dumbarton Oaks (1979-87). He moved to Harvard in 1991, where he is Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History. His books include Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce, A.D. 300-900 (Haskins Medal, Medieval Academy of America; Ranki Prize, Economic History Association) and Charlemagne’s Survey of the Holy Land: Wealth, Personnel and Buildings of a Mediterranean Church (forthcoming). He is currently working on natural scientific approaches to the past, including the history of human health and the environment, and applying computer science to the study of ancient texts.

He has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation, the ACLS, and the Max-Planck-Institut, and was honored by the Mellon Foundation with its Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002. He is a fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, the American Philosophical Society, and the Society of Antiquaries (London); and a corresponding member of the Monumenta Germaniae historica (Munich) and the Académie royale de Belgique.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lecture by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, Sandra Harding

"Sciences From Below: An Introduction to Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies"

Sandra Harding

Sandra Harding is professor of education and women’s studies, and from 1996 to 2000 was director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women. A philosopher of science, she taught at the University of Delaware, 1976-1996, prior to joining the faculty at UCLA. She co-edited the journal Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society from 2000 to 2005 and is the author or editor of fifteen books and special journal issues. Among them are Science and Social Inequality; Is Science Multicultural? Postcolonialisms, Feminisms and Epistemologies; Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?; The Science Question in Feminism; and Sciences from Below: Gender, Imperialism, and Modernity (forthcoming, spring 2008).

She has been a consultant to several United Nations organizations, including the Pan American Health Organization, UNESCO, the U.N. Development Fund for Women, and the U.N. Commission on Science and Technology for Development. She was a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam, the University of Costa Rica, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and the Asian Institute of Technology.

March 6-7, 2006
Ronald Graham

Lecture by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, Ronald L. Graham

"Mathematics in the 21st Century: Problems and Prospects"

During his two-day visit, Professor Graham delivered one public lecture and met with students in classes and seminars.

Ronald Graham spent thirty-seven years at Bell Labs as a researcher, leaving in 1999 as chief scientist. During that time he also held visiting positions at Princeton, Stanford, Caltech, and UCLA, and was a part-time University Professor at Rutgers. He currently holds the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Chair of Computer and Information Science at California, San Diego. His research within the field of discrete mathematics includes Ramsey theory, the development of the theory of quasirandomness, as well as contributions to the number theory, approximation algorithms, and computational geometry.

Ronald Graham Juggling

Professor Graham has received numerous awards, including the Pólya Prize in Combinatorics, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Steele Prize for lifetime achievement, American Mathematical Society. Past president of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as of the AAAS.

The Visiting Scholar Program

Scholars Juggling

The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program makes available each year twelve or more distinguished scholars who visit 100 colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. They spend two days on each campus, meeting informally with students and faculty members, taking part in classroom discussions, and giving a public lecture open to the entire academic community. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students. Now entering its 50th year, the Visiting Scholar Program has sent 518 Scholars on some 4,500 two-day visits since the 1956-57 academic year.

Participating Visiting Scholars for 2007-2008 were: Michael J. B. Allen, Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles; Roger S. Bagnall, Director, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University; Lori F. Damrosch, Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization, Columbia University; Morris P. Fiorina, Wendt Family Professor of Political Science, Stanford University; Alejandro García-Rivera, Professor of Systematic Theology, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley; Sandra Harding, Professor of Education and Women’s Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Daniel Huttenlocher, Neafsey Professor of Computing, Information Science and Business, Cornell University; Lawrence M. Krauss, Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Case Western Reserve University; Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Harvard University; Saskia Sassen, Member, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University; James J. Sheehan, Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University and 2007-2008 Phi Beta Kappa/Frank M. Updike Memorial Scholar; Pamela S. Soltis, Curator, Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics, Florida Museum of Natural History; Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University.

April 15, 2005

Induction Lecture by Dean John Kenney

“American Catholics and the Intellectual Life”

Fifty years ago Monsignor John Tracy Ellis, a distinguished scholar of American history, published a celebrated and controversial essay by this title in the Catholic journal Thought. Fr. Ellis decried what he regarded as “the impoverishment of Catholic scholarship in this country.” And he insisted that Catholic colleges should “maintain a strong emphasis on the cultivation of intellectual excellence.”

February 3, 2005

Lecture by Gamma Chapter Vice President George Dameron 

"A Hallowed Sense of Place: Buildings, History and the Virtuous Dead"

Focusing on thirteenth and fourteenth century Florence as a case study, this presentation will explore a tradition of devotion to the dead that is rooted in a sense of place. More specifically, it will argue that attention to, veneration of, and concern for the souls of those Florentines who had died in the past helped shape and transform the city into one of the most prosperous and culturally creative centers of the world. Drawing on a wide variety of disciplines in the liberal arts ranging from mathematics and architecture to history and literature, this lecture will demonstrate how the commitment of Florentines to their ancestors and their saints helped them cope with dramatic change. In the devotion of twenty-first century Americans for the site of the former World Trade Center, we can see how this tradition of veneration for the virtuous dead continues to help the living cope with the difficult challenges of the present.

April 16, 2004

Chapter Installation and First Induction Ceremony for Students

The chapter shall elect undergraduate student members primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement and good character, subject to the following conditions:

  1. The candidate shall be enrolled in the junior or senior year at Saint Michael’s College.
  2. The candidate shall have completed at least three full semesters of work in residence at Saint Michael’s College and be fully registered at the College.
  3. For election in the junior year, the candidate shall have completed at least one academic term of the junior year. The caliber of his or her work shall be of exceptional distinction, including a Grade Point Average (GPA), as computed by the Registrar, placing him or her in the 98th percentile or higher of the class.
  4. For election in the senior year, the candidate shall have a GPA placing him or her in the 85th percentile or higher of the class.
  5. Grades earned in applied or professional work, as determined by the chapter, shall not count in the computation of the GPA for purposes of eligibility.
  6. The chapter shall give weight to the breadth of the candidate’s program of study as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside of his or her major. The chapter shall also give weight to the balance and proportion in the candidate’s degree program as a whole.
  7. Candidates shall have demonstrated knowledge of mathematics and of a foreign language at least minimally appropriate for a liberal education.

Subject to other provisions of the chapter Constitution and these Bylaws, the chapter may consider those students who complete their college course and become eligible at the end of the summer session along with the eligible group during the following academic year.

The number of undergraduates elected from any class, including those elected in their junior year, shall not exceed ten percent of the number of undergraduates expected to receive a bachelor’s degree in that class. A maximum of one-fifth of the members elected from any class may be elected in their junior year.

Election to membership in this chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is wholly within the discretion of the members of this chapter, subject only to the limitations imposed by the Constitution and Bylaws of this chapter, and no right to election shall adhere to any student solely by reason of fulfillment of the minimum GPA for election to student membership.

Faculty and Staff Members

Dr. George Ashline - Mathematics
Ms. Kitty Bartlett - Institutional Advancement
Dr. Ronald Begley - Philosophy
Dr. Donna Bozzone - Biology
Dr. George Dameron - History
Dr. Maura D'Amore - English
Dr. Joel Dando - English
Ms. Krisan Geary - Quantitative Skills Coordinator and Mathematics Instructor
Dr. William Karstens - Physics
Dr. John Kenney - Religious Studies
Stacey Knight - Library Information Services
Dr. Allison Kuklok, Philosophy
Dr. Adrie Kusserow - Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Diane Lander - Business Administration and Accounting
Dr. Nathaniel Lew - Fine Arts
Dr. Crystal L'Hôte - Philosophy
Dr. Malcolm Lippert - Biology
Dr. Dagan Loisel - Biology
Dr. William Marquess - English
Ms. Denise Martin - Biology
Dr. Molly Millwood - Psychology
Dr. John J. Neuhauser - President
Ms. Megan Ohler - Student Life
Ms. Joanne Scott - Business Administration and Accounting
Dr. Kerry Shea - English
Mr. Michael Stefanowicz - Admissions
Dr. Laura Stroup - Environmental Studies
Dr. Kimberly Sultze - Media Studies, Journalism, & Digital Arts
Dr. Jeffrey Trumbower - Religious Studies and Dean of the College
Dr. Peter Vantine - Modern Languages
Dr. Patrick Walsh  - Economics
Catherine Welch - Assistant Dean, Student Life

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