By Caitlyn Ewers
On October 9th at its 44th Triennial Council, Phi Beta Kappa welcomed nine new members to the Phi Beta Kappa Senate. These highly qualified and dedicated men and women will join the four returning Senators—Linda Greenhouse of Yale Law School, Jean Howard of Columbia University, Robert Koons of the University of Texas at Austin, and Lynn Pasquerella of Mount Holyoke College—and together will guide the Society on policy matters to be carried out by its national office.
Christine Cano (ΦBK, Smith College, 1983), Associate Professor of French at Case Western Reserve, will be representing Phi Beta Kappa’s East Central District. As a scholar of modern French literature at an independent research university emphasizing engineering and medicine, Cano endeavors to promote a liberal arts education as not only a suitable but also a necessary foundation. Previously, Cano served on the research scholarship selection committee for the ΦBK Chapter at Case Western Reserve and has been involved in the organization and execution of its yearly induction ceremony.
Susan Carlisle (ΦBK, Emory University, 1967) is a CPA and Partner Emerita of Habif, Arogeti and Wynne LLP in Atlanta. Carlisle is a charter member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Alumni Association and has served it in various executive roles since its inception, most recently as President of its Board of Directors. The Atlanta Association works in particular to promote the name and ideals of Phi Beta Kappa among high school students, their parents, and their teachers. One of its most successful programs, for example, presents award-winning books to talented juniors at approximately 50 high schools in the greater Atlanta area.
Esther Jones (ΦBK, Fisk University, 1998) is Assistant Professor of English and the E. Franklin Frazier Chair of African American Literature, Theory, and Culture at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as President of Clark’s ΦBK Chapter. She is involved in the local community and maintains various commitments to service organizations, including Girls Inc. of Worcester and the United Way-funded student group All Kinds of Girls. Jones sees the role of a Senator as that of an advocate, and as such, she aims to promote liberal education despite the deprecation it often receives from the media.
Vera Junkers (ΦBK, City University of New York, Hunter College, 1966) has been elected to represent the Middle Atlantic District. Her passion and aptitude for teaching French is demonstrated by her various teaching appointments, involvement in the American Association of Teachers of French, and her reception in 2008 of the French government decoration Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques. Senator Junkers is deeply committed to Phi Beta Kappa and has served her district in various capacities, including a 24-year appointment as District Secretary-Treasurer.
Jeffrey Kovac (ΦBK, Reed College, 1970) is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee and the Director of College Scholars, the University’s interdisciplinary undergraduate honors program. He is passionate about interdisciplinary scholarship, which is reflected in his varied research and numerous publications. As Senator, he looks forward to contributing to national efforts to promote the liberal arts and establish their place in the future of higher education. Kovac has been involved in the Society for many years and has served for the past 12 as President of the ΦBK Chapter at the University of Tennessee.
Amy Mulnix (ΦBK, Cornell College, 1983) is Director of the Faculty Center at Franklin & Marshall College. A first generation college graduate who attended a small liberal arts university, she desires to promote liberal education among all demographics so more people might learn the skills to confront and solve the world’s problems. Mulnix has served as President of the ΦBK Chapter at Earlham College and as a member of the Committee on Qualifications. She is an affiliate representative to the Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Eric Nye (ΦBK, St. Olaf College, 1974), Professor and Director of English Honors at University of Wyoming, will represent the Western District. He considers the liberal arts to be the essence of American higher education, and as a Senator he seeks to promote their virtues in modern society. Nye has served the ΦBK Chapter at the University of Wyoming in various roles since 1988, including Chapter President, Vice President, Secretary, and newsletter editor. In 1997 he received the Phi Beta Kappa National Award for Dedicated Service.
Suzie Park (ΦBK, Duke University, 1996), Associate Professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, has been recognized for her outstanding work as a teacher and mentor by nominations for a number of awards and honors. Service is very important to Park, and she plans to utilize her new role to influence the Society’s national public service initiatives. Park has served as the President of Phi Beta Kappa’s Alumni Association of East Central Illinois since 2008 and previously served as the group’s Secretary and Vice President.
Calvin Van Niewaal (ΦBK, Cornell College, 1971), Professor of Computer Science and the John F. Yothers Professor of Mathematics at Coe College since 1997, has been elected to represent the North Central District. He intends to work with the other Senators to promote Phi Beta Kappa and distinguish it from the many other honors societies available to students at American colleges and universities. In the past, Van Niewaal has served the North Central District as Secretary and Chairman and has been the Secretary-Treasurer of the ΦBK Chapter at Coe College since 1982.
Caitlyn Ewers is a senior at Creighton University majoring in Latin and art history. Creighton University is home to the Beta of Nebraska Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.