University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM's Phi Beta Kappa Chapter Inducts New Members

Phi Beta Kappa
Friends and family gathered in Billings Dec. 3 to celebrate the newest UVM students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. (Photos: Sally McCay)

For the 168th time, the University of Vermont's Phi Beta Kappa chapter convened its fall meeting Thursday night to induct the newest group of UVM members to the esteemed honor society.

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States. Founded in 1776 at the College of William & Mary, it recognizes outstanding performance in the liberal arts and sciences and derives its name from the Greek phrase Philosophia Biou Kybernetes: “Love of wisdom is the guide of life.”

Approximately 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities shelter a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, and approximately 10 percent of students at those institutions are invited to join. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is a rare honor, and academics and employers recognize it as a mark of intellectual breadth and exceptional academic performance.

UVM’s chapter — the Alpha of Vermont — was chartered in 1848, making it the eleventh chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. It was the first chapter in the nation to induct women and African Americans, which it did in the 1870s. Since 1848, approximately 4,100 UVM students have been inducted.

The 15 students inducted this December gathered with friends and family in Billings Library’s Apse, and one by one, signed the chapter’s membership book, the same one signed by Ellen Hamilton and Lida Mason, Phi Beta Kappa’s first women members in 1875, and George Washington Henderson, the first African American member in 1877.

This year’s inductees include:

  • Amelia Fontein, environmental studies major from Wallingford, Vermont
  • Andrew Gambardella, anthropology major from Milford, Connecticut
  • Jason Garland, Chinese and Asian studies major from Peterborough, New Hampshire
  • Brendan Hennessey, geography major from Acton, Massachusetts
  • Alisa Holm, Japanese and studio art major from Grande Isle, Vermont
  • Laura Hoyt, biology major from Lincoln, Massachusetts
  • Allison Kurpiel, political science major from Lynn, Massachusetts
  • John Marchinkoski, history and English major from Wallingford, Vermont
  • Sara McGee, linguistics major from Centennial, Colorado
  • Anders Newbury, biology major from Fairfield, Vermont
  • Matias Page, neuroscience major from West Newton, Massachusetts
  • Jacob Pelland, Russian and political science major from Bolton, Massachusetts
  • Leah Rogstad, global studies major from East Wallingford, Vermont
  • Allie VanSickle, political science major from Dearborn, Missouri
  • Jessica Wohlfahrt, biochemistry major from Red Hook, New York

Sophomore Emma Tait, a geography major from Marshfield, Vermont, was also honored at the ceremony. She was presented with the Bogorad Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the liberal arts based on the academic record through the end of the sophomore year. The award is named for Samuel Nathan Bogorad, a Phi Beta Kappa member who joined the UVM faculty in 1946, served for eight years as the chair of the English Department, and held the Corse Professorship in English Language and Literature until his retirement in 1982.

Phi Beta Kappa