This is the season when two core aspects of our Phi Beta Kappa mission converge: the recognition of academic excellence on our campuses and our advocacy for the liberal arts and sciences.
A broad-based liberal arts and sciences education prepares us for meaningful, productive, and engaged lives as citizens. The study of science, for both science majors and nonmajors, is vital for all three outcomes of a higher education.
Phi Beta Kappa recognizes academic excellence, a mission that is wholly consistent with admitting diverse and inclusive entering classes. Indeed, our claim to be honoring the most accomplished liberal arts and sciences students in the country requires that the graduating classes that produce our newest members include students from a wide range of backgrounds.
The mentoring that takes place on each of our campuses every day has never been more crucial. After several years of education challenged by the Covid pandemic, the need for mentors to help fill resulting gaps will be greater than ever.
This spring we welcomed our three newest chapters located at Providence College, Rollins College, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Each of the approximately 20,000 students who will become new members this year has a unique story, and each has achieved a level of excellence in the liberal arts and sciences that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives and careers in an ever-changing world.
We are living in a time saturated with rankings, but what we treasure most about a university experience cannot fully be captured by that which can be concretely measured.
This past summer, we convened the 46th ΦBK Triennial Council, the first ever to be entirely virtual. We gathered to celebrate the fundamental role that liberal arts and sciences education plays in our society and our democracy.
Three lessons in particular emerge from the crisis, the first two of which concern the critical importance of the liberal arts and sciences for our time.
We are reaching out to engage at the campus level as more institutions confront hard choices and as those choices threaten to undermine the possibilities for a robust arts and sciences experience.
Liberal education in particular cultivates the capacity to deal with complexity and diversity and not be threatened by differences of opinion.
The creativity and energy characteristic of the liberal arts enables us to continue our growth and our positive impact on the lives of our members and our nation.