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Phi Beta Kappa

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Lambda of Ohio University

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most respected academic honor society in the United States. Invitation to membership is a reflection of outstanding academic achievement and shows a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to freedom of inquiry and expression.

Phi Beta Kappa has pursued its mission of fostering and recognizing excellence in the liberal arts and sciences since 1776. The Lambda of Ohio Chapter received its charter from the national organization in 1928. Less than 10 percent of graduates from the College of Arts & Sciences and Honors Tutorial College are selected for membership.

The chapter participates in the intellectual life of Ohio University by electing individuals to undergraduate, alumni, and honorary membership, hosting annual lectures by recognized scholars, and the annual awarding of the Thomas M. Wolfe Awards for highest scholastic achievement of a third-year and graduating senior student.

President's Message on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Dear Phi Beta Kappa Lambda of Ohio members,

We hope this message finds you well. Thank you to those who attended our 2022 induction ceremony on April 29, and congratulations again to our new members! Ninety-one juniors and graduating seniors were initiated into Phi Beta Kappa for the 2021-2022 academic year, an acceptance rate of 80%. Indeed, due in large part to the generosity of Ohio University President Hugh Sherman and his predecessor, Dr. Duane Nellis, agreeing to cover initiation fees, our chapter has experienced significant growth in the past few years. The growth of our chapter coincides with increases in diversity at OHIO. To cite just a few examples, 15.9% of the Fall 2021 first-year class are members of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups, and international students now comprise 4.2% of the student body.

Given these exciting developments, now is an ideal time for our chapter’s Executive Board to affirm our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the coming months and years, we plan to take concrete steps to demonstrate this commitment. For one, we are excited to develop and maintain connections with campus organizations that focus on multiple forms of diversity (e.g., racial/ethnic, national, gender/sexuality, socioeconomic, religious, veteran status). Doing so will enable us to reach a wider range of students and ensure that those of all backgrounds become familiar with PBK as early in their education as possible. Additionally, we plan to revise some of the language in our website and other promotional materials (e.g., emails to new initiates) to explicitly highlight the importance we place on diversity, and to maximize inclusivity in more subtle ways. Social science research demonstrates that, for instance, an emphasis on giving back to one’s community fosters a greater sense of belonging among first-generation college students than does an emphasis solely on achievement. Communicating that we at PBK care about both will likely help everyone feel more welcome in our organization.

Finally, we invite you as valued members of our chapter to share any ideas you may have with us and to provide feedback about how we can do better to address diversity-related issues, as well as to raise questions or concerns should they arise. Personally, I have spent my entire career as a social psychologist studying group memberships and identities. As I begin my second year as President of Lambda of Ohio, I am eager to implement much of what I have learned from my research here at OHIO to improve our chapter.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Kimberly Rios (on behalf of all Executive Board members)      
Lambda of Ohio Chapter President                                  
Professor, Department of Psychology  

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