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OSU awarded Phi Beta Kappa chapter

We are thrilled to announce that the Phi Beta Kappa Society has awarded a chapter to Oregon State University after a rigorous three-year application process. The decision to induct Oregon State into the Society was reached after a vote by the Phi Beta Kappa Triennial Council in Denver earlier this month.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the oldest scholastic honorary in the United States, dating from its founding at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, on December 5, 1776. Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts, mathematics and natural sciences. Phi Beta Kappa’s campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at 283 of America’s colleges and universities.

Phi Beta Kappa has high standards for institutions that aim to shelter a chapter. Among other qualifications, the Society seeks evidence that an aspiring member institution has an academic environment conducive to the fullest development of liberally educated men and women.

Tara Williams, Associate Dean in the University Honors College and OSU’s Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Committee co-chair, points out that OSU’s induction came after “a very rigorous process—26 applications were submitted three years ago, five institutions were selected for campus visits last year, and only three recommended for chapters.”

In making their decision, the Phi Beta Kappa Committee on Qualifications praised the “overwhelming commitment to student learning” and “across-the-board respect for the values of liberal learning” that they encountered on their visit to OSU. Williams also praised the dedicated leadership of the University’s President and Provost and the outstanding work performed by the Phi Beta Kappa faculty committee at various stages of the selection process.

“Becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa had a profound impact on my life and on my career as a leader of higher education,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray said. “When I was in college I couldn’t afford the $25 membership fee, but a family friend was generous enough to pay it for me.”

Ray has been a member of Phi Beta Kappa since he was a senior at Queens College in the City University of New York. He and his late wife Beth established the Kay Bowers Fund for Phi Beta Kappa Students to support eligible students who don’t have the resources to cover the expenses to join. Upon learning of the decision to award a chapter to OSU, Ray doubled the endowment. Ray said he was excited about the prospect of offering membership to some of Oregon State’s many high-achieving students, enhancing their resumes and providing the advantage of networking opportunities.

Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science, is thrilled by the addition of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter on campus.

“The College of Science will support Phi Beta Kappa that uniquely showcases the strength that comes from an education in the arts and sciences,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science. “Our students develop strong skills in critical thinking and reasoning while learning to apply core scientific concepts that advance knowledge.”

As a new member of Phi Beta Kappa, the University enthusiastically looks forward to establishing a vital and successful chapter at Oregon State. OSU’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter will participate in the Society’s most cherished and notable traditions, such as celebrating academic excellence and achievement of  undergraduate students by inducting them as lifetime PBK members, besides sponsoring programs and activities that honor scholarship and education in the liberal arts and sciences.

Read the university announcement for more information.

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