Peyton Nalle Rhodes Prize


On December 5, 1949, the 173rd anniversary of the founding of Phi Beta Kappa, the Gamma Chapter of Tennessee was established on the campus of Rhodes College (then Southwestern at Memphis). Instrumental in securing our chapter′s charter was Dr. Peyton Nalle Rhodes, longtime Professor of Physics (1926–1949) and later President of the College (1949–1965). A highly esteemed teacher and scholar, Dr. Rhodes was an unstinting advocate of the liberal arts. To cite his own words from his inaugural address, he believed that a college ought to "do a few things excellently rather than to scatter efforts over many fields, with mediocrity as the inevitable result." His commitment to the values embraced by the Phi Beta Kappa Society stands as an inspiration to excellence for the entire Rhodes community.

In honor of Dr. Rhodes, our chapter awards the college′s highest academic honor each year at commencement. The Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize is awarded to the graduating senior who has best demonstrated an exceptional combination of scholarship, creativity, achievement, and a commitment to the liberal arts. In 2014, the Rhodes Prize was endowed by donations from dozens of generous members nationwide.


Benjamin Evans History and International Studies
2013 Sarah Bacot Gender & Sexuality Studies and History
2012 Colin Antaya History and Philosophy
2011 Daniel Williford French and History
2010 Allyson Pellissier Economics and Mathematics
2009 Stephanie Wilson Psychology
2008 Joan E. Campbell French and Music
2007 Sally C. Lineback History
2006 Sandra L. Keller French and Psychology
2005 Stanley R. Vance, Jr. Chemistry
2004 Kenneth M. Lamb Political Science
2003 Karyn E. Spence Physics and Religious Studies
2002 Charles P. LaRochelle English
2001 Lauren E. Mize Physics
2000 Jill M. Peterfeso English
1999 Lisa (Roy) Vox History
1998 Samuel P. Jordan Economics and Political Science
1997 Sarah Nell Bolton Religious Studies
1996 Jacob Abraham Physics
1995 Brett C. Goldston Chemistry
1994 Patricia L. Fitzgerald Anthropology & Sociology
1993 Jeffrey A. Mullins Philosophy
1992 C. Annette Dubard Religious Studies
1991 Jonathan P. Smoke Economics and Religion
1990 Jennifer M. Gaines History and Physics
1989 Sara D. Hodges Psychology
1988 Matthew H. Lembke Political Science
1987 T. Alan Harris English and Spanish
1986 Catherine Winterburn Political Science
1985 Paula L. Millirons Chemistry
1984 Mary R. Goodloe Mathematics
1983 Martha E. Saavedra International Studies
1982 Ann E. Kingsolver Anthropology & Sociology
1981 J. S. "Chris" Christie, Jr.
Political Science
1980 Brian C. Thompson International Studies


Abe Fortas was a Supreme Court associate justice from 1965-69. He graduated from Rhodes in 1930, before its Phi Beta Kappa chapter was chartered, but was later inducted while at Yale University Law School. 

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