From its Ballrooms on the second floor, the sounds of shuffling feet and papers might have been heard in the Memorial Student Union Building.
After all, within those upper corridors 102 students had gathered, whisking through programs until they could repeat a motto: “Let the love of learning rule humanity.”
On Tuesday, April 26, Texas A&M University-Kingsville welcomed its first group of inductees into TAMUK’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi prides itself in being the nation’s oldest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines; membership is proffered to the top 7.5 percent of second-term juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students.
Dr. Nestor Sherman, president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, welcomed TAMUK’s inaugural group and their guests, saying: “Today, we celebrate excellence. We gather to initiate worthy individuals into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
These persons have been chosen on the basis of their superior scholarship. We are pleased and proud that each has chosen to become part of a century-old community of scholars and professionals that includes individuals who have distinguished themselves in positions of leadership, and whose careers have been characterized by achievement.”
Phi Kappa Phi can lay claim to members that have served in the United States Congress, the United States Supreme Court, as well as former occupants of the Oval Office.
Further, recipients of Nobel Prizes and Pulitzer Prizes have belonged to the honor society.
Yet, whatever position its members might find themselves in, the society stresses scholarship that serves.
As Sherman noted, “Phi Kappa Phi is proud to include in its membership thousands of women and men who, for more than a century, have sought to make a difference in the communities where they live and work.”
A keynote presentation was given by Dr. Richard Miller, professor and department chair for the Department of Psychology and Sociology.
In addressing the 102 inductees, Miller cut into the still room with a bit of wit.
After noting the honor of being able to present, he added, “I am especially aware that I am the only thing between you and your certificates. So, in the words of Henry VIII to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon: I will not keep you long.”
Yet, if Miller’s address was brief, its topic of the responsibilities of achieving honor, was welcome as a reminder that students seek excellence not for their sake only, but for the good of others.
Follow Kaitlin Ruiz on Twitter: @kaitlinruiz95