Phi Beta Kappa Installs UNC Charlotte Chapter; 68 Students Inducted Into Nation’s Most Prestigious Academic Honor Society

The nation’s most prestigious academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, installed a new chapter at UNC Charlotte on April 20. Following the installation, the new Theta of North Carolina chapter inducted 68 UNC Charlotte students, selected for their academic excellence in the arts and sciences.

Just 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Prospective Phi Beta Kappa inductees are usually seniors among the top 10 percent of their graduating class who have completed a broad range of liberal arts and sciences coursework, including foreign language and mathematics.

At the inaugural induction ceremony of the Theta of North Carolina chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at UNC Charlotte, 68 students joined the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society.

“UNC Charlotte’s commitment to the liberal arts and sciences as well as its nurturing environment that allows its students to soar should be recognized and celebrated,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary and CEO Frederick M. Lawrence. “In a challenging time for public higher education, this commitment is an inspiration to us all. We congratulate the University and our newest Phi Beta Kappa members on their accomplishment, and we look forward to a bright future for the chapter here at Charlotte.” 

Phi Beta Kappa Secretary and CEO Frederick M. Lawrence commends UNC Charlotte for its commitment to the arts and sciences and nurturing environment.

Lawrence, along with Phi Beta Kappa Society President Peter Quimby and new chapter President Gregory Starrett, who is chair of the Department of Anthropology at UNC Charlotte, presided over the ceremonies at the UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

Celebrating the momentous occasion were University leaders, including Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan F. Lorden, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean Nancy A. Gutierrez, Board of Trustees members; UNC Charlotte faculty and staff who are Phi Beta Kappa members; newly inducted Phi Beta Kappa Foundation members; and newly inducted students, family members and friends.

Phi Beta Kappa scholars have achieved a foremost academic honor that signifies their curiosity, intellect, and love of learning, Gaber said. She referenced the bronze Self Made Man sculpture that stands on campus, designed by sculptor Bobbie Carlyle with the vision of a man carving himself out of stone, carving his character and carving his future.

“We don’t hear the hammer clang or the stone crack, but we can imagine it,” Gaber said. “For me, the sculpture captures both the work and the joy that comes with learning, of figuring ourselves out in a complex world. Here at Charlotte, we engage in this work together, as researchers, teachers and students, focused on investigation, discovery, and creation.”

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber (center) celebrates with new UNC Charlotte Phi Beta Kappa members following the induction and inaugural installation ceremonies.

The chapter’s creation, Starrett said, offers a significant new way to recognize current students’ academic achievements, set against the backdrop of the storied history of the University and its people.

“The honor of sheltering a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is the result of the dedicated work of generations of faculty, students, and university staff and leaders who built this institution from the ground up after the Second World War,” he said. “They understood the vital importance of higher education’s values of learning, discovery, and the creation of new knowledge.”

During the ceremony, the chapter also inducted 11 Foundation members, each chosen for their commitment to the ideals of the liberal arts and sciences and support for the University and community, including:

  • Susan DeVore ’81, former CEO of Premier Inc., UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees chair
  • Sharon Gaber, UNC Charlotte chancellor
  • The Honorable Harvey B. Gantt, City of Charlotte’s first African-American mayor, noted architect
  • Dale F. Halton, former CEO, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company and past member of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees
  • Gene Johnson ’73, former chair of United Communications Holdings and former UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees chair
  • Bertha Maxwell Roddey, founding chair of what is now UNC Charlotte’s Africana Studies Department and Frank Porter Graham Professor Emerita, UNC Charlotte
  • Karen Popp ’80, partner at Sidley Austin LLP and former UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees chair
  • Kathleen J. Reichs, author, UNC Charlotte professor of anthropology emerita
  • Ruth G. Shaw, former CEO of Duke Power Company and former UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees chair
  • Brenda D. Tindal ‘04, executive director of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, former UNC Charlotte faculty
  • Mike Wilson ‘93, senior vice president and general counsel, Northwood Ravin, and former UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees chair
The chapter inducted 11 Foundation members, each chosen for their commitment to the ideals of the liberal arts and sciences and support for the University and community, including the Honorable Harvey B. Gantt (right) with College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean Nancy A. Gutierrez.

UNC Charlotte is the 292nd U.S. college or university to shelter a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Installations of new chapters occur only every three years and follow an intensive, multi-year application and evaluation process that includes significant data collection and a visit from members of Phi Beta Kappa’s Committee on Qualifications. Among the criteria reviewed are an institution’s commitment to the centrality of education in the arts and sciences, governance structure, faculty excellence, and demonstrated commitment to academic freedom.

Students inducted in 2022 are:

  • Ariel Von Alberto 
  • Sophia Beck 
  • Caitlin Patricia Bell 
  • Dorian Benjamin 
  • Kinaya H. Brown 
  • Hailee Elizabeth Bryan 
  • Sydney Carmer 
  • Aily Valencia Cervantes 
  • Gwynnevere Stephania Clark 
  • Patrick Thomas Deegan 
  • Merel Devaney 
  • Andee Diaz 
  • Olivia Cameron Dobbs 
  • Adriana Sofia Figueroa Rivera 
  • Alexandra Fitzgerald 
  • Andrew Fitzgerald 
  • Payton Gaddy 
  • Kelly Elizabeth Gilbert 
  • Jaynaeh Gillaspie 
  • Evelyn Glukhoman 
  • Yuleny Gomez Rodriguez 
  • Betsabe Graciela Rojas Gonzalez 
  • Jasen Greco 
  • Tammi-Jo Grady-Schuh 
  • Christopher Caleb Green 
  • Olivia Gregson 
  • Hannah Michelle Grissom 
  • Brianna Marie Gutch 
  • Michelle Joyce Hallé 
  • Olivia Haraldsson 
  • Cory Hickey 
  • Whytnee J. Hollingsworth 
  • Olivia Nicole Hughes 
  • Saad Jalisi 
  • Hope Jamison 
  • Camden Blake Johnson 
  • Kaylee Elizabeth Jones 
  • Wyatt Cole Jones 
  • Abraham James Kalani 
  • Amanda C. Kelly 
  • Karsyn Koon 
  • Riley LePrell 
  • Wyatt J Lehman 
  • Cameryn Nicole Lytton 
  • N. Cooper Manley 
  • Margaux Maquet 
  • Lauryn Massenburg 
  • Amore’ Chantalle McCullough 
  • Sadie Caroline McNair 
  • Mary Messina 
  • Galen Miller 
  • Chloe Nicola 
  • Laurel Sage Pitman 
  • Rei Rama 
  • Kara Ines Richardson 
  • Meredith E. Rodden 
  • Enrique Rodriguez-Cue 
  • Chloe Shade 
  • Riley Grace Shaner 
  • Madison Snyder 
  • Mara Rose Stumpf 
  • Abbegale Styers 
  • Niyathi Sulkunte 
  • Gabriela Anna Swic 
  • Kevin Tan 
  • Pollak “Alex” Tang 
  • Randy Whitehead 
  • Zoe Margaret Ziegler

Words: Lynn Roberson | Images: Wade Bruton and Lynn Roberson