MIT chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society inducts 77 students from the Class of 2018
"This year’s inductees were chosen on the basis of their exceptional academic performance, which has included substantial commitment to the humanities, arts, and social and natural sciences in their purest forms — learning for learning’s sake. Such an education prepares them to thrive not just in particular careers but also in the broader practice of pursuing reflective, meaningful, and well-lived lives."
— Arthur Bahr, Professor of Literature; President, Xi of Massachusetts
The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest academic honor society, invited 77 graduating seniors from the Class of 2018 into the MIT chapter, Xi of Massachusetts.
Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, honors the nation’s most outstanding undergraduate students for excellence in the liberal arts, which include the humanities, the arts, science, and social sciences. Only 10 percent of higher education institutions have PBK chapters, and fewer than 10 percent of students at those institutions are selected for membership.
“This year’s inductees have been chosen on the basis of their exceptional academic performance, which has included not just technical subjects but also substantial commitment to the humanities, arts, and social and natural sciences in their purest forms — learning for learning’s sake,” said Arthur Bahr, an associate professor of literature and the president of Xi of Massachusetts. “Such an education prepares them to thrive not just in particular careers but also in the broader and more important practice of pursuing reflective, meaningful, and well-lived lives."
Browse photographs from the 2018 Phi Beta Kappa ceremony at the SHASS Flickr gallery.
Exploration involves risk
At the induction ceremony, which took place on June 7, Allan Adams, principle investigator of the Future Oceans Lab at MIT, presented an address entitled, “On the Value of Invisible Things.” Allen discussed his professional transition from a theoretical string physicist to a passionate oceanography researcher intent on exploring and conserving the world’s oceans. In describing what he’s learned from “lifting the veil” and discovering the vast invisible life hidden within ocean depths, he advised the new inductees to “remember to keep an eye out for invisible things to guide you and drive you.” As Allen observed, “Exploring involves risk — whether in space, your career, or your heart.”
A "relatively" ancient society
Bahr, who specializes in medieval literature, provided the inductees and their families with a lively overview of the “ancient…well, relatively” PBK society. With assistance from chapter historian Anne McCants, professor of history, and chapter guardian Elizabeth Vogel Taylor of the Concourse Program and the department of chemistry, Bahr introduced the 2018 inductees to the rights and responsibilities of PBK members. The 77 inductees were then recognized individually, shown the society’s secret handshake, and asked to sign the register of the Xi of Massachusetts chapter before receiving their certificates of membership.