Recent Alums Megan Katz, Paul deTurk and Greg Manz
Also, having PBK on my resume has been crucial. Last semester, I applied to graduate schools in education. PBK definitely made me stand out. I was recently accepted to the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. (I even received a huge scholarship from Penn.) I have also applied to seven other competitive schools. I will hear the decisions from these schools mid-March.
I know that being a part of Phi Beta Kappa will help me in my future. It is amazing to think that I am part of a society that includes so many influential people from our country's history. My invitation to PBK has inspired me to go after all of my dreams and believe in myself.
So far I've gotten into BU and U Southern California and I'm waiting on scholarship offers and news from Cornell. I also have a final interview at Teach for America on Monday.
Alums Jackson Toof, Jude Blake, Roderick Story, Priscilla Daggett and Sylvia Miskoe
First, while I was an economics graduate at UNH, I had decided to enter public education as a history teacher, which would require an extensive retooling of my resume. Before I had completed my basic officer course at Fort Lee, VA, I was called to the post headquarters and offered the job as Post Education Officer, responsible for on-duty and off-duty high school, vocational, and college courses. Many of my contacts were with deans of graduate schools at five universities in Virginia. I have no doubt that my military superiors must have considered the value of a Phi Beta Kappa in this position. The experience was invaluable and personally rewarding, as in my role in helping an Army captain become the first African-American to receive a transcript from the College of William & Mary.
My value to the command, since my monthly goals were always met and exceeded, helped keep me on the post, when several times I was considered for assignment to Vietnam. My wife and two small daughters were happy we were able to stay together.
After twelve years of teaching, I prepared for high school administration and was a building principal for twenty-six years, feeling that the role in providing a positive climate was critical to the future of our coming leaders. I got to serve five school districts in two states and retired in that role, after a most rewarding run. Since I was sometimes assumed by well-educated professional people to be one of those who ;probably couldn't compete in their professions, I always displayed my Phi Beta Kappa certificate prominently on my wall, along with my degrees. I always considered this to be justifiable pride. I urge any who are wondering if you need another honor to consider this one, to me the highest honor to be bestowed by a university on its graduates.
Chapter Members Cathy Frierson, Linda Johnson, Jeffry Diefendorf, Edward Chupp and Bill Troy
Even so, I was completely surprised by the invitation to join Phi Beta Kappa as a junior when I received it at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1975. I had no idea juniors could be invited.
I raced to the telephone and called the school where my mother taught English and asked the secretary to go to my mother's classroom to tell her the news. The secretary understood completely why I was so excited, and the celebrations began with that conversation. I wasn't AIMING for an invitation from Phi Beta Kappa, but I was thrilled when it arrived so unexpectedly in my mailbox that spring day. I immediately ordered my own Phi Beta Kappa key, which I paid for with money I earned working in a local bakery. Since then, my pride in membership has only grown, especially when I have had the opportunity to congratulate my best UNH students at the UNH Phi Beta Kappa chapter's initiation ceremony each May. Last year, I had taught NINE of the UNH initiates. It is a joy to be a member of a community of Phi Beta Kappa members whose hard work and intellectual curiosity shape their lives and provide them more opportunities than they probably imagined.
Then, I was notified that I was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, honoring my somewhat eclectic collection of courses, all in the liberal arts tradition of exploring the world and looking for hidden truths. I was very excited, it felt wonderful. And my parents, both college graduates, were ecstatic. They knew the 'bragging rights' that came with Phi Beta Kappa designation, how it separates one from the crowd. So, I immediately accepted the offer of election, and gladly.
I have never regretted being involved in PBK. It stands on its own as an indicator of achievement on your resume, and on other credentials. It is especially useful coming from a large state university, where so many students graduate each year, and it can be hard for employers to discern a quality applicant from 'the pack'. Further, I knew that I would attend graduate school at some point, and it served me well in the admissions process, especially since so many folks in graduate admissions are scholars first, administration folks later in their careers. In fact, I know that my acceptance to Cornell University for graduate studies in business were heavily leveraged by my liberal arts training, as the Director of Admissions to the Johnson School was trained as a European historian, and much of our interview centered on the causes of World War II, and the rise of Hitler, hardly the stuff of a typical business school interview. PBK is an indicator of intellectual curiosity and achievement. You earned it.
Now, here you are at the University of New Hampshire, with an offer of joining Phi Beta Kappa. It is an honor to be selected, and it is a designation that can only help you in the future. In a crowded market for professional employment, it is the gold standard saying that you are a person of depth, intellectual, curious, and serious about learning, aptitudes that cut across many fields of future interest. PBK will open doors for you that are closed to others, many on the 'other side of the desk' will be impressed, and may in fact also be members of this most ancient of honor societies. Seemingly 'small' things matter in selecting the right candidate, and PBK gives you a distinct edge.
Make the right choice, accept your nomination to Phi Beta Kappa, it will open doors you did not even know existed. And yes, there is a secret handshake – more on that when you accept your certificate at the May ceremony.
© 2001-2012 Beta Chapter, Phi Beta Kappa, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH 03824