March 5, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's new chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is in the process of selecting its first student members in course.
Letters of invitation to join the country's oldest and most widely recognized academic honor society will be mailed to students in early March. The first group of students will be inducted into the society, which seeks to foster and recognize excellence in undergraduate liberal arts and sciences, in an initiation ceremony Wednesday, April 1.
Students are selected on the basis of general academic qualifications established by the national Phi Beta Kappa organization. WMU's chapter had the opportunity to further define the criteria.
The chapter's selection committee is considering, in general, juniors and seniors who are enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences. The minimum grade point average for a junior is 3.80 and for a senior is 3.50. Weight will be given to the breadth of the candidates' program of study as well as to their knowledge of mathematics and a foreign language.
Not more than 10 percent of the senior class and only 2 percent of the junior class enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences may be elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Chapter officials expect this first group of initiates to number about 100.
Some doctoral students also will be considered for membership, provided their undergraduate institutions did not shelter a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and their undergraduate academic records would have otherwise qualified them for membership in the society. Not more than 5 percent of doctoral students may be invited to join in a given year.
Students cannot apply to the organization. The selection committee makes its decisions based on transcript information available through the registrar's office and nominations from faculty members, department chairpersons and deans.
"This is an opportunity for students to achieve the highest recognition in the arts and sciences for their accomplishments," said Dr. John W. Petro, chairperson of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and president of the chapter. "It represents for them a key to future possibilities."
WMU, which was selected to shelter a Phi Beta Kappa charter this past fall, is one of only 91 public universities in the nation and one of only four public universities in Michigan to be so honored.
Media contact: Ruth Stevens; firstname.lastname@example.org
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