On Sunday, March 31, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi inducted 119 new members and awarded 17 Certificates of High Scholastic Achievement. Welcomed by Commonwealth Honors College Dean Gretchen Gerzina and Provost John J. McCarthy, inductees received a certificate and a rose, as well as access to all the benefits and support networks Phi Kappa Phi provides.
The top ten percent of the senior class, the top 7.5 percent of the junior class, and a select number of graduate students are invited to join Phi Kappa Phi. The top five percent of the sophomore class receive Certificates of High Scholastic Achievement, as recognition for their excellence and hard work, but are not yet eligible to join the honor society.
As the students were being inducted, each inductee shared their name, hometown, graduating year, major(s), specific interests within their major(s), and plans for next year.
In addition to the recognition of student achievement, Dean Gerzina presented Distinguished Service Awards to Professor Sarah Berquist and Professor Priscilla Page. The Distinguished Service Awards honor individual academics who have provided sustained and non-compensated volunteer service to others beyond academia.
A lecturer of sustainable food and farming at UMass’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture, Professor Berquist’s courses are in farm-based agricultural education, social justice, food systems, and personal sustainability. She sees her mission as equipping students with practical life skills, such as the ability to grow their own food, confidence in leading others, community organizing, and critical thinking to solve problems.
Professor Page is senior lecturer of the Department of Theater and is director of the Multicultural Theater Certificate. Her research includes Latina/o theatre and contemporary Native American performance. She was also the program curator for five years at New WORLD Theater, a professional, non-profit multicultural theater at UMass Amherst.
Provost McCarthy gave a warm welcome to the incoming class of Phi Kappa Phi. A distinguished professor of linguistics as well as a provost, McCarthy pondered the meaning of Phi Kappa Phi’s motto: Φιλοσοφία Kρατείτω Φωτῶν (Philosophía Krateítõ Phõtôn), or, as translated into English, "Let the love of learning rule humanity." Provost McCarthy concluded that this motto represents how Phi Kappa Phi is inclusive of all genders and all places around the globe, so long as they are committed to furthering scholarship, learning, character, and service to the community.
This year’s guest speaker was Diane Flaherty, professor of economics and associate dean for Curriculum and Academic Oversight at Commonwealth Honors College. Dean Flaherty discussed her work, which she conducts with with her husband, for the United Nations, in which the couple create economic models that look at various countries’ markets holistically, so the U.N. can make the best decisions for everyone going forward.
After the ceremony, inductees met with family, friends, and fellow Phi Kappa Phi members to celebrate their accomplishments.