USD Magazine, Fall 2003


USD Granted Phi Beta Kappa Chapter

by Krystn Shrieve

S urrounded by hundreds of representa– tives from universities and wishing the letter U was higher in the alphabet, his– tory Professor Jim Gump, seated in the back of a cramped hotel ballroom, listened for what seemed an eternity as officials from Phi Beta Kappa revealed which institutions would be granted charters to start their own chapters of the nation's preeminent honor society. After a grueling three-year application process - including a three-day site visit - Phi Beta Kappa delegates voted Aug. 9 by an overwhelming margin to bestow upon USD membership into the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States. USD was one of eight chapters awarded chis year. "When I heard the vote, I did a quick calculation in my head, figured out chat we were well over the number we needed, real– ized I had been holding my breath and let out a huge sigh of relief," says Gump, who led USD's quest for membership, which cul– minated at the society's triennial meeting in Seattle. "As I reflect on it now, I still get a bit teary-eyed, because I know it means we have arrived and are among the academic elite." Nationwide, only about 10 percent of all colleges and universities have Phi Bera Kappa 4 USO MAGAZI NE

Among USD's 25 faculty members of Phi Beta Kappa are the professors pictured here. From left, front row: Karma Lekshe Tsomo, theology and religious studies; Jim Gump, history. Second row: Harriet Baber, philosophy; Lisa Baird, biology; Margit Smith, Copley Library; and Sandra Robertson, foreign languages.Third row: Joseph Colombo, theology and religious studies; Rodney Peffer, philosophy; and Lynne Small, mathematics. Back row: Kathryn Statler, history; Patricia Kowalski, psychology; Daniel Sheehan, physics; and Christopher Adler, music.

chapters. USD, which since 1988 has tried three times to garner chapter status, is one of only 18 Catholic institutions among the 270 chapters. In August, USD also received word chat the university is ranked among the top 100 national universities by US. News & World Report. In its 2003 survey, the magazine placed USD in a tie for 99th among 248 national universities, defined as chose offer– ing a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master's and doctoral degrees. The official Phi Bera Kappa installation ceremony will be held Nov. 14, during the week-long inauguration festivities for USD's new president, Mary E. Lyons. Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.,

Phi Beta Kappa champions liberal arcs edu– cation through scholarships, lectureships, book and essay awards, summer institutes for professors and funds for visiting scholars. Each year, some 15,000 students from around the country are invited to become members of the society. Famous Phi Beta Kappa members include polio vaccine cre– ator Jonas Salk, opera singer Beverly Sills, humanitarian Elie Wiesel, author John Updike, six of the current Supreme Court justices and former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George Herbert Walker Bush. Gump, who has been at USD since 1997, became a Phi Beta Kappa member in 1974 as a senior at the University of Nebraska, where he graduated with honors as an athlete and student government leader. He is among 25

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