Class of 2018 Seniors Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa
On Friday, May 11, 2018 at Faculty House, the New York Delta Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society initiated more than 50 GS students at its annual Induction Ceremony.
Professor Deborah Mowshowitz, President of the Delta Chapter, began the ceremony, welcoming the candidates, faculty, family, and fellow members of Phi Beta Kappa. “We meet here today to receive into our Society those who, having qualified for election, now wish to be admitted to its privileges and undertake its responsibilities,” said Mowshowitz.
GS elects no more than 10 percent of its graduating class to Phi Beta Kappa. Students are selected on the basis of their character, integrity, and academic achievement. With grade point averages above 4.0, they are among the top in their class. As Secretary of the Columbia Phi Beta Kappa Chapter Dean Victoria Rosner pointed out, there is much more to the inducted students than the numbers on their transcripts.
“The academic accomplishments of our Phi Beta Kappans are second to none, and yet many of these students have faced and surmounted extraordinary personal challenges. Remarkably, a number of these now highly distinguished scholars were, at one point, high school or college dropouts…One of our graduates raised her younger sisters because her mother had to travel extensively for work to support the family. Another had to be homeschooled through her middle and high school years because of chronic debilitating illness and was told she might have to abandon her education.”
Further expanding on this year’s class, Rosner said, “One of our graduates started his own company and received Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Award when he was not yet 20 years old. Another created an online social platform to activate young peoples’ involvement in politics. Yet another helped manage a company that organizes screenings of classic and cult films at a Hollywood cemetery.”
Inductees included students from the Joint BA program between GS and the Jewish Theological seminary, the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po, the Joint Bachelor's Degree Program between City University of Hong Kong and Columbia University, in addition to students who began their undergraduate educations in community college before transferring to Columbia.
Inductee Queenie Luo received the Phi Beta Kappa Prize, which is awarded to the candidate who best represents the ideals of the society—intellectual integrity, tolerance for other views, and a broad range of academic interests. Luo was honored for her extraordinary academic record and contributions to the GS community.
Upon pledging to “be true and faithful to Phi Beta Kappa, uphold its standards, obey its laws, and seek to reflect credit upon [their] affiliation with this venerable fellowship of learners,” the exceptional candidates became full-fledged members of Phi Beta Kappa.
Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest academic honor society, and its initials represent the society's motto: "love of learning is the guide of life." Roughly 10 percent of U.S. institutions of higher learning have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and among those institutions, only about 10 percent of arts and sciences graduates are selected for membership, making it one of the highest academic honors for undergraduate students in the nation.
To be inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society, students must be recommended by faculty who work closely with them and are members of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Recommendations are based on the students' academic programs and their ability to support the society's ideals of academic, social, and community-based programs.