Phi Beta Kappa elects members

Approximately 70 academically high-achieving juniors and seniors were inducted into the honorary academic organization Phi Beta Kappa on Monday night.

Ten juniors, representing approximately the top 1 percent of the class of 2009, and about 60 seniors, representing the top 5 percent of the class of 2008, became the newest members of Yale’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Election to the chapter is based upon the percentage of a student’s grades that are A- or higher.

During the hour-long induction ceremony Monday night, Associate Dean of Yale College Penelope Laurans presented on the history of the academic society. The Yale chapter began in 1780, and its handwritten charter is the oldest Phi Beta Kappa document in existence, said Comparative Literature professor Haun Saussy, who spoke at the ceremony.

“We’ve very proud of the folks who have done well, not just in their major, but in all the subjects they’ve studied,” Saussy said.

Adam Bouland ’09, one of the juniors inducted, said although scholarship advisers at the International Education and Fellowships Program office told him last year he would probably qualify for membership, he was still “pleasantly surprised” when he found out he would be inducted.

“I will put it on my resume, and I think most other people will,” Bouland said.

Following the ceremony, Saybrook College Master Mary Miller held a reception in her home for the honorees, Dean of Undergraduate Education Joseph Gordon said.

Saussy said although Phi Beta Kappa does not offer opportunities very distinct from others available through other Yale organizations, students can still benefit from membership.

“It’s just a chance to live the dream and talk to smart, intelligent, fine people,” Saussy said. “This is one way in which you can do that.”

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