Adam E. Cody Sexton – Editor-in-Chief
The Roanoke College chapters of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa recently held their fall semester elections in order to recognize outstanding academic achievement and leadership. Election into these societies represents some of the highest honors at RC. PBK only elected senior students of superior academic standing in the fall. ODK elected primarily seniors but also elected some juniors into its ranks.
Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. Membership is by invitation only after the members of the RC chapter have elected a student. The chapter members are the current faculty members who were themselves elected into PBK as undergraduates. The seniors invited to join this fall were: Kasey Blackburn, Peter Booth, Rob Harbert, Liz Jung, Bethany Mensink, Jamison Monahan, Evelina Pranarova, Katie Schlimmer, Cody Sexton, Hannah Updike, and Anne Whitesell.
“Students are selected [for Phi Beta Kappa] based on a variety of criteria including freedom of thought, intellectual curiosity, and academic excellence,” said Chris Lassiter, assistant professor of biology and president of RC’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
While there is no definitive checklist for election, there are four factors that must be met in order to be considered. To be eligible, students must: pursue a Bachelors Degree in Arts or Sciences (and 75 percent of coursework must be in liberal arts), study foreign language through the intermediate level (202 at RC), demonstrate breadth and depth in pursuit of studies at RC, and demonstrate exceptional academic achievement. The one factor that requires extra attention is the study of foreign language through the 200-level since this is a requirement that cannot be met in a standard course of study at RC.
Omicron Delta Kappa is the national leadership honor fraternity. It seeks to recognize outstanding student leaders who have excelled in at least one of five areas of interest: scholarship; athletics; campus/community service, social/religious activities, and campus government; journalism, speech, and the mass media; and creative/ performing arts. The seniors elected this fall were: Peter Booth, Megan Corsnitz, Molly Howser, Lindsay Kooiman and Lindsay Van Leir. The juniors elected this fall were: Nathaniel Castellano, Kirby Davis and Kara Drabick.
The RC chapter of ODK is made up of both faculty and students. To be elected, students must be either a junior or a senior and be in the top 35 percent of their class. Furthermore, students usually must be leading or have led a student organization that is having an impact on campus in some way. The members of ODK submit nominations to the nominating committee that then prepares a final list of nominees. That final list is presented to the entire membership for election. The newly elected members are then publicly tapped in one of their classes.
Â Inductions for both of these honor societies will take place at a later time. Phi Beta Kappa will hold an induction ceremony on May 6; Omicron Delta Kappa will induct new members during Family Weekend.