By David Olio
On October 9, Paul Lukacs was elected as the new Vice President of Phi Beta Kappa at the organization’s 44th Triennial Council in Denver. The Council, which serves as a legislative body, meets every three years in order to conduct the necessary business of the national organization, including electing the President and Vice President who will serve for the following three years.
Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Humanities at Loyola Maryland University in Baltimore, Lukacs was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Kenyon College and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at The Johns Hopkins University.
Lukacs has taught English at Loyola University Maryland since 1981, and was department Chair from 1991 to 2006. He has had several other posts at the university including Director of the University Honors Program (1988-1991) and Director of the Center for the Humanities (2007 to the present).
He is the author of articles and essays on subjects ranging from nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature and the culture and history of wine, to the synergies between aesthetic and physical taste, which have appeared in journals and magazines such as Clio, American Heritage, and The American Scholar. He is also the author of three books, including two award-winning titles about wine, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures, and American Vintage.
Lukacs would like to see the number of Phi Beta Kappa chapters at colleges and universities across the country grow and amplify the organization’s ability to demonstrate the depth and vitality of its commitment to learning and personal growth.
Through the National Arts & Sciences Initiative, the national office has taken strides to promote Phi Beta Kappa’s values to the broader community, beyond the college campus. Lukacs also hopes to see the program continue to grow and, more crucially, expand its efforts to oppose any view that claims the decreasing value of a humanities education.
His proven leadership and commitment to Phi Beta Kappa, locally and at the national level, have prepared Lukacs to guide the organization and ensure its future growth. When “learning is measured in terms of data driven outcomes rather than personal enrichment,” Lukacs observes, “silence all too easily can be interpreted as a form of acquiescence.” He is determined that Phi Beta Kappa will not be silent in this regard.
David Olio is a junior at Union College majoring in environmental policy and English with a minor in classical civilizations. Union College is home to the Alpha of New York Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.