April 2024Vol.XXXVI No. 4

Phi Beta Kappa at MIT: A Golden Opportunity to Recognize Undergraduate Excellence

Emily Richmond Pollock

Did you know that MIT’s chapter of the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa annually recognizes around 75-90 senior undergraduates for their broad excellence and achievements in liberal arts and sciences? Building on years of stalwart leadership over many years by Diana Henderson and Arthur Bahr from Literature, Anne McCants from History, and many other distinguished colleagues, and supported by Kim Benard and Ian Murray in CAPD, I am shepherding this year’s PBK selection process and events.

Faculty and teaching staff across the Institute can help us in our work by notifying us of excellent students who should be on our radar. While GPA and transcripts are our initial data set, we love to hear when there are students who are writing exciting theses, have conducted impressive original research, or have shown particularly broad and deep engagement across the liberal arts and sciences, such as a minor or double major, whatever their specific GPA.

In addition, if you were yourself inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate, we would really love to hear from you and add you to our roster. Faculty “membership” in MIT’s chapter can be as minimal as showing up to cheer on and shake the hands of new inductees at our Commencement-time event (this year: Wednesday, May 29 at 10 am in 32-123) and as involved as helping out with the selection process. We also annually choose a distinguished faculty speaker for the induction (recent speakers have included Arthur Bahr and Elizabeth Wood) and host an informational reception in April.

Please reach out to me (pollock@mit.edu) or Kim Benard (benard@mit.edu) to share information or ask questions.