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Phi Beta Kappa Welcomes New Class of Inductees

Nearly 60 students joined the prestigious national honor society, which has been part of commencement week activities since Ursinus was accepted into the Tau of Pennsylvania chapter more than 25 years ago.

Ursinus is one of only 10 percent of colleges and universities to nationally host a chapter.

Mark Ellison, the David Laucks Hain Professor of Chemistry, hosted the initiation alongside Christian Rice ’98, a visiting assistant professor of philosophy and religion and assistant dean for civic engagement; Rebecca Evans, an associate professor of politics; and Abbie Cichowski ’10, director of special gift programs and a major gifts officer. All are members of Phi Beta Kappa in their own right and officers of the Ursinus chapter.

In order to form a student society devoted to liberal education and intellectual fellowship, Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. More than 700 Ursinus alumni have joined Phi Beta Kappa since its inception at Ursinus in 1991.

Mark Schneider shared the history of Phi Beta Kappa and the great honor that its membership means during this year’s ceremony.

“People pay attention when I say I graduated Phi Beta Kappa,” he said. “The requirements span a serious liberal education, and your induction reflects high academic performance.”

This year, more than 50 seniors and four juniors were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, signing a pledge to develop and maintain moral character. In addition, Tess Beck ’20, Kailyn Cohen ’20 and Parker Fairchild ’20 received the John M. Wickersham Book Award, given to the second-year students with the highest GPA after three semesters at Ursinus College.

Cichowski shared a story about her time as a student where she visited the nearby Graterford State Correctional Institution to work with the inmates on a community theater writing experience where the men would journal their autobiographical experiences to eventually be turned into a play. Despite initial hesitation, Cichowski learned a lot about the inmates, herself, forgiveness and morality.

She reconsidered the CIE questions that she had previously answered, now with the context of working with these inmates.

“I had wrongly assumed that the CIE questions in isolation were difficult enough. In the context of the world beyond the Ursinus gates, they meant so much more,” she shared, wondering, “What does it meant to be human in a society in which human life can be taken away in an instant? What is the universe when your own personal universe consists of a 20-by-15-foot cell? How should one live one’s life after taking someone else’s?”

She continued, “As inductees of Phi Beta Kappa, you join an exclusive society of scholars, you are recognized today for your contributions within the classroom, your intellectual curiosity, your breadth of scholarship, and perhaps most importantly, your moral character. We hope that this continues to be a thread in your life’s through line. The world keeps presenting us with questions and if anyone is equipped to answer them, it is this group, who are blessed with the skills and the compassion to do what is right, and the freedom with which to do it.” –By Mary Lobo ’15


The following is a list of 2018 inductees:

Class of 2018

Lisa Abraham, Benjamin Allwein, Mary Atta-Dakwa, Berett Babrich, Shani Bame, Kathryn Bormann, Helen Brabant-Bleakley, Madison Bradley, Heather Brubaker, Theodora Caputo, Anna Crowder, Sydney Dickson, Michael Esposito, Skyler Gailing, Sophia Gamber, Robin Gow, Leah Grudberg, Albert Hahn, Roseangela Hartford, Clementine Harvey, Elizabeth Hilt, Julia Hodenfield, Giselle Horrelle, Remi Janicot, Christina Jarjisian, Emily Jolly, Jordyn Karliner, Morgan Larese, Jie Lin, Rosendo Lopez-Duran, Maddie MacKenzie, Christopher Maley, Bryan Martin, Laura Maurer, Robert McNamara, Melissa Meeker, Ashley Nguyen, Sinead O’Callaghan, Amanda Otto, Saloni Parikh, Katrina Raichle, Andrew Sallavanti, Joseph Schmid, Amanda Srinivasan, Arianna Srinivasan, Lily Talerman, Christopher Tan, Callie Terris, Blake Thomson, Olivia Tierney, Kara Travis, Jessica Vadaketh, Rachel Weil and Hanchen Zheng.

Class of 2019

Sarah DeFelice, Courtney DuChene, Audrey Pitcher and Serena Schaefer.

John M. Wickersham Book Award Recipients

Tess Beck ’20, Kailyn Cohen ’20 and Parker Fairchild ’20.