Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, its purpose is to recognize and encourage excellence in the liberal arts. The Wells College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Xi of New York, was founded in 1932. It recognizes seniors whose academic achievements have been distinguished and whose cultural interests are broad. Students elected to Phi Beta Kappa must demonstrate, in addition to academic excellence, breadth of study outside the major field and a knowledge of mathematics or science and of a foreign language. Candidates must have completed at least three semesters of work at Wells and be fully registered for the fourth. Also taken into account are the character, achievements, originality, and breadth of interest of each candidate. Election to Phi Beta Kappa is the highest and most widely recognized of academic honors.
Every year the national organization's Visiting Scholar Program makes available a number of distinguished scholars to spend time on campuses and give public lectures. Individual chapters must apply and be approved to receive this honor.
Presented at fall Convocation since 2009 to that member of the previous year's first-year class who demonstrated high academic achievement and showed great promise in fulfilling other of the Phi Beta Kappa ideals.
First Year Book Award Recipients
We conducted an essay contest in spring 2011 to encourage high school juniors and seniors in surrounding districts to reflect on liberal arts education at a time when learning is expected to pay dividends.
M. Bruce Bennett, Professor Emeritus of English
Laura Burns '04, Director of Financial Aid
Catherine Burroughs, Professor of English
Waltraut Deinert, Professor Emerita of German
Beatrice Brodsky Farnsworth, Professor Emerita of History
Margaret G. Flowers, Professor Emerita of Biology
David Foote '11, Assistant Director of Communications
Deborah A. Gagnon, Professor of Psychology
Jeanne Goddard, Professor of Dance
Kenneth E. Larson, Professor Emeritus of German
Sarah Markowitz, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Dennis Merryfield, Lecturer in Business
Leslie Miller-Bernal, Professor Emerita of Sociology
Milene Z. Morfei, Professor of Psychology
Susan G. Sandman, Professor Emerita of Music
Linda Schwab, Professor Emerita of Chemistry
Carol Shilepsky, Professor Emerita of Mathematics and Computer Science
Sally Sievers, Retired Lecturer in Mathematics
Thomas Stiadle, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Deb Gagnon, President
Milene Morfei, Vice President
Sarah Markowitz, Secretary
Tom Stiadle, Treasurer
Catherine Burroughs, Historian