Phi Beta Kappa’s 134th induction: the Cornell chapter’s renaissance

By: Linda B. Glaser,  Arts & Sciences Communications
March 2, 2016

On Feb 24th, Cornell inducted its 2016 class of Phi Beta Kappa students, which included 54 seniors and 23 juniors. Parents and friends were invited to the event, which concluded with an address, “The Art of Learning,” by Phi Beta Kappa Faculty President Daniel R. Schwarz, the Frederic  J. Whiton Professor of English and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow.

The College invites the top 3 percent of juniors in each class to Phi Beta Kappa. The College also invites the top 7 percent of those seniors who were not inducted as juniors, Thus the chapter includes the top 10 percent of the graduating class of the College of Arts & Sciences.

“Our very select and extraordinary junior group constitutes the core of the active chapter going forward and elects student officers for the next academic year,” explains Schwarz. 

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the most prestigious and oldest undergraduate honor society for the liberal arts and sciences. Cornell’s chapter has a heritage dating back to May 28, 1883, and from the very beginning has been open to both men and women in the College of Arts & Sciences. Schwarz notes that the Cornell chapter has made considerable progress in recent years. 

“With an active on-campus presence and superb student leadership, we now sponsor two Phi Beta Kappa Distinguished Faculty Invitational Lectures, one each term. These well-attended public lectures are open to all and have become significant contributions to the intellectual life of the Cornell community,” says Schwarz.

The lecture series has had many notable speakers, including Professors Roald Hoffmann, Trevor Pinch, Ron Ehrenberg, Steven Strogatz, Isaac Kramnick, Mary Beth Norton, Fredrik Logevall, Tom Gilovich, Steven Squyres, and Ken McClane. 

In addition to the lecture series, Phi Beta Kappa members participate in Ithaca community outreach activities. With the support of its new alumni organization, the chapter has also been raising funds for an endowment which will soon give a scholarship prize and, in the future, help support the chapter. 

For more information, see Phi Beta Kappa.   

Pictured: Abhinav Rangarajan '16 (left) with Professor Dan Schwarz.

Abhinav Rangarajan '16

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