Phi Beta Kappa is America’s oldest collegiate honor society. Founded in 1776, its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding liberal arts students at America’s leading colleges and universities. The Society champions the liberal arts — the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences — in higher education and in society at large.
The Gamma Chapter of Tennessee was established at Rhodes College on December 5, 1949. Our chapter was the 143rd in the nation to be chartered; there are currently 283 chapters in the United States. In addition to recognizing outstanding students and awarding the college′s highest academic honor, our chapter sponsors lectures by distinguished visiting scholars. Gamma of Tennessee was recently ranked among the top 20 chapters nationwide.
Our gratitude to our most recent donors: Tracy Adkisson (ΦBK Rhodes College); Richard Scott Antaya; Dr. J. Barron Boyd (ΦBK Rhodes College); Daniel Case (ΦBK Yale University); Dr. Ed Kaplan (ΦBK Yale University) Dr. Robert Llewellyn (ΦBK Davidson College); William Murray (ΦBK Skidmore College); Dr. Scott L. Newstok (ΦBK Grinnell College); Dr. Kenneth Cameron & Brian Thompson (ΦBK Rhodes College); Dr. Stephen Wirls (ΦBK Kenyon College); and Sam Chafetz and the ΦBK Association of the Mid-South.
• October 10: Lecture by Harvard University Librarian Robert Darnton: "Digitize and Democratize: Libraries, Books, and the Digital Future" (UC Theatre, University of Memphis, 6:00pm), co-sponsored with the Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities, Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities (MOCH), and the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment. Darnton will also respond to the Rhodes symposium on "The Past and Future of the Book" on Friday, October 11 (9:00am, Blount Auditorium)
• October 17–19: National Phi Beta Kappa conference, "Is There a Case for the Liberal Arts?" (Memphis Marriott Downtown). RSVP to Scott Newstok: email@example.com to attend two events on Friday, October 18: a panel discussion with members of Rhodes′ Board of Trustees (1:45-3:15pm) and a reception later that evening (5:30-7:00pm).
• October 26: Reception for Phi Beta Kappa alumni, faculty, staff, students, and local members during Homecoming/Reunion weekend (Palmer Cloister, 5pm)
• November 6, 13, & 20: "DNA at 60": A lecture series organized by Dr. Harmon Dunathan (ΦBK Rhodes College) (Wednesdays, 7:30pm in the UC Theater, University of Memphis): "Evolution and the Origin of Modern Genetics," Dr. Andrew Berry (Harvard University); "The Discovery of the Structure of DNA," Dr. Alexander A. F. Gann (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory); "What Has Followed . . ." Dr. Duane McKenna (University of Memphis)
• March 27: Lecture by Visiting Scholar Marjorie Garber (Hardie Auditorium, 7:00pm), co-sponsored by the Rhodes College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa; the Department of English; the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment; and the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities.
• April 25: Junior inductees will be announced at the Awards Convocation (Hardie Auditorium, 9:00am)
• May 9: Annual induction ceremony, including an address to new members by Dr. Ann Kingsolver ′82, the third recipient of the Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize. (Hardie Auditorium, the Rollow Hall, 11:30am)
• Additional Phi Beta Kappa members speaking on campus: Gordon Wood (ΦBK Tufts University), September 17; Benjamin Claude Brower (ΦBK University of Idaho), September 26; Stephen Wirls (ΦBK Kenyon College), October 8; Timothy Huebner (ΦBK University of Miami), October 9; Ayanna Thompson (ΦBK Columbia University), November 2; Darrin McMahon (ΦBK UC-Berkeley), November 13; Hasan Kwame Jeffries (ΦBK Morehouse College) February 27–March 1; Judith Butler (ΦBK Yale University), April 10.
• Junior inductees (class of 2014) were announced at the Awards Convocation (April 26, 2013).
• Randall Fuller discussed "Walt Whitman′s Civil War," based on his award-winning book From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature (April 11, 2013). Co-sponsored by the departments of English, History, Music, and the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities. Pre-register; facebook page. Media: Chapter 16; Memphis Flyer; Counterpoint.
• Our chapter was profiled in Rhodes Magazine (Winter 2013).
• Samantha Smith ′14 was offered a writing internship with The Key Reporter (January 9, 2013). Articles written by Ms. Smith: "Is the Examined Life Worth Living?"; "Liberal Arts Education Brings Passion to Problem Solving."
• Reception for PBK alumni was held during Homecoming/Reunion Weekend (October 20, 2012).
• Many additional PBK members spoke on campus in 2012–13, including James Capretta (September 17), Clifford Orwin and Susan Meld Shell (September 28); Melody Deusner ′99 (November 15); Amy Singer (November 27); and Alice Kaplan (February 11-12). At the University of Memphis′ Marcus W. Orr Center for the Humanities, PBK speakers included Karlyn Kohrs Campbell (September 27); Deborah Gray White (November 1); and Marshall Poe (March 21).
• Brian Thompson ′80 (Chazen Museum of Art) addressed new members at the annual induction luncheon (May 11, 2012). Mr. Thompson was the inaugural recipient of the Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize.
• Sir Peter Crane (Yale University) explored "The Future of Plants: Diversity, Conservation and Sustainability" (March 1, 2012). Crane′s visit was co-sponsored with Rhodes′ Biology Department, Environmental Studies & Sciences, the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities, and the University of Memphis Department of Biological Sciences. Media: Commercial Appeal profile; Memphis Flyer interview.
• Kwame Anthony Appiah (Princeton University), discussed his book "The Honor Code" (September 21, 2011). Appiah′s visit was co-sponsored with Lecture Board, the Office of Student Conduct, the Dean′s Office, African American Studies, English, Gender and Sexuality Studies, International Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, the Project for the Study of Liberal Democracy, the Spence L. Wilson Chair in Humanities, and the Writing Center. Media: WKNO interview; Chapter 16 interview; Commercial Appeal interview; poster (pdf).