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Phi Beta Kappa Elects New Members to UW Chapter

April 20, 2016
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David Brooks, who along with his father, Stan Brooks, was selected for alumni membership in the UW chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. David Brooks will present the keynote address at the April 29 initiation ceremony for UW’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), the nation’s oldest academic honor society, has selected 27 new members for the University of Wyoming chapter, including a father-son duo elected to alumni membership.

Members are selected based upon their demonstrated excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.

“To be elected, a student needs to show a balanced liberal arts education that accords with the national stipulations, and which we verify by examining every candidate’s transcript in detail,” says Eric Nye, professor in the Department of English and chapter secretary. “Our chapter requires that candidates have completed a substantial amount of second language coursework as well as courses in math.”

Nye says members cannot apply or be nominated to PBK, but are selected by faculty members in the chapter. Membership never exceeds the top 10 percent of the graduating class, and Nye says PBK members at UW typically are in the top 4 to 5 percent.

Most new members are seniors, but a handful of outstanding students are elected as juniors each year and are awarded scholarships. This year, Hélène Rochais, of Moissac, France, received a $1,000 Louise A. Lee Johnson Memorial Scholarship.

Alumni members are chosen from the graduates of UW of 10 or more years’ standing. They must meet the provisions outlined in the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s constitution and bylaws.

Stan Brooks, a retired career diplomat in the Far East, graduated from UW in 1954. His son, David, received his bachelor’s degree in English in 1984. He is president of the Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea Business Unit.

“In the last three decades, I can’t recall that we have ever elected an alumni member, let alone a father-son tandem,” Nye says.

The new members will be initiated at a public ceremony Friday, April 29, at 3 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Family Room. David Brooks will present the keynote address, titled “With a Liberal Education, the World’s a Stage.”

Phi Beta Kappa annually selects new members in each of its 286 chapters nationwide. Last fall, UW’s chapter was honored as one of the nation’s two top public university chapters during the 2012-15 triennium. Chartered in 1940, UW’s chapter sponsors lectures, scholarships and other academic activities.

New Phi Beta Kappa members at UW, listed by hometowns and majors, are:

Casper -- Vikki Doherty, history; Leland Hepworth, mathematics; Wendy McGee, English; and Bridget Weiner, anthropology, and environment and natural resources.

Cheyenne -- Robert Curran, anthropology; Michelle Londe, statistics; Mackenzie Muirhead, international studies and French; and Kimberly Sanchez, Russian and anthropology.

Cody -- Maria Raver, mathematics.

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Kathryn Connelly, international studies.

Douglas -- Alyson Thorsell, Spanish; and Brittany Vandeventer, anthropology.

Eagle River, Alaska -- Briana Collins, mathematics.

Golden, Colo. -- Danielle Wood, English and English secondary education.

Jackson -- Aidan Deiter, international studies; and Robin Elledge, economics and international studies.

Lander -- Annikki Peterson, microbiology.

Laramie -- David Brooks, English; Stan Brooks, speech/theatre; Heidi Hanekamp, molecular biology and physiology; Nicholas Maddy, international studies; Jorden Pitt, history; and Liset Vargas, physiology.

Moissac, France -- Hélène Rochais, mathematics.

Pinedale -- Jayme Culwell, psychology.

Ranchester -- Sarah Maze, physiology.

Torrington -- Teal Deen, anthropology.

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