The Delta of California Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa initiated eight Occidental College seniors Wed., February 9 in a ceremony in Morrison Lounge on the Occidental campus. Louise Yuhas, an art history and the visual arts professor and president of the local Phi Beta Kappa chapter, presided over the initiation.
The following students were initiated:
• Ben Burnett, an economics and chemistry double major from Portland, Ore.
• Elise Burger, a biochemistry major from Salt Lake City
• Alison Caditz, an English and comparative literary studies and Spanish double major from Mercer Island, Wash.
• Sarah Kushner, an economics major from Portland, Ore.
• Leandra Lehmann, a psychology major from Sacramento
• Joseph Mohorcich, a politics major from Soldotna, Alaska
• Kelsey Newport, an urban and environmental policy major from Sisters, Ore.
• Thomas Stringer, a biochemistry major from Woodinville, Wash.
Professors who introduced the initiates, most of whom plan to pursue graduate study (including medical school), commented on their "grace and poise," "superb imagination," "generosity of spirit," "empathy," "patience," "hard work," "focus," "initiative," and "perfection."
"I'm really pleased that I made you all so smart," joked economics professor Jim Whitney. "At least I can spot great talent."
Said longtime politics professor Roger Boesche of his student Joseph Mohorcich, "It's all too easy for him. He's passed by me now." Student Kelsey Newport, said art history and the visual arts professor Amy Lyford, "Helped me become a better teacher."
The students were chosen for membership in the honor society, which was established in 1776, based on academic excellence through their junior years. There currently are 262 chapters. Founded in 1926, the Occidental chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is one of the first chapters of the country's oldest academic honor society to be chartered at a liberal arts college in the western United States. Qualities sought in Phi Beta Kappa candidates are superior grades, intellectual integrity, intellectual and moral character, and a broad range of academic interests.
Each spring the chapter brings a provocative speaker to the Occidental campus through the Phi Beta Kappa Speakers Forum, underwritten by the Ruenitz Trust Endowment. The talks are free and open to the public. Last year's speaker was Bill Nye "the Science Guy."
For more information, go to www.phibetakappa.org.