February 17, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University will officially receive its charter for the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society during formal chapter installation ceremonies Monday, Feb. 23.
A public ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Shaw Theatre. It will be followed by a private dinner and program.
Members of WMU's faculty and staff who are also members of Phi Beta Kappa will turn out in full academic regalia for the event that will mark what WMU President Diether H. Haenicke has termed "a truly significant accomplishment in our University's history."
Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most widely recognized academic honor society in the country. It seeks to foster and recognize excellence in undergraduate liberal arts and sciences. WMU is one of only 91 public universities in the nation and one of only four public universities in Michigan to be granted a charter.
The University was selected to shelter a chapter this past fall after a rigorous application process. WMU's quest to earn a charter was set in motion 28 years ago by Dr. Russell H. Seibert, then vice president for academic affairs.
"The inclusion of WMU among the member institutions of Phi Beta Kappa lends further credence to my claim that the University is a learning institution of the highest caliber," Haenicke said. "WMU's commitment to scholarship, teaching and research has been recognized, and students past and present have another reason to reflect upon their education with pride."
During the installation ceremonies, Haenicke will deliver an address titled "The Key at Western Michigan University."
The chapter installation will be conducted by Dr. Frederick J. Crosson, president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and the Cavanaugh Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of Notre Dame. Seventy current and retired faculty and staff members will be recognized as new charter members of WMU's Theta of Michigan chapter. All were previously initiated in Phi Beta Kappa at other institutions, usually where they received their undergraduate degrees.
In addition, six faculty members will be inducted as "Foundation Members" to honor them for their superior scholarship in the arts and sciences. The ceremonies also will include the formal election of chapter officers.
"We can all be very justifiably proud of this very important and historic accomplishment for our University, for our College of Arts and Sciences and, most importantly, for our many outstanding students in the College of Arts and Sciences, whom we will now be able to recognize with an invitation for membership in our chapter of Phi Beta Kappa," said Dr. John W. Petro, chairperson of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and president-elect of the WMU chapter.
The first group of students will be inducted into the society in a separate initiation ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, April 1.
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA