Phi Beta Kappa Members Selected

Forty-nine seniors were elected Tuesday to the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society, at a ceremony in the Barker Center.

The new members were selected on the basis of high academic achievement and professional recommendations.

"It's a great honor," said Andrew S. Bomback '98, a classics concentrator living in Winthrop House. "It's nice to be honored for hard work and academic curiosity."

The seniors elected Tuesday join 24 of their classmates who were elected to the society in the spring.

The final round of elections for the class of 1998 will occur shortly before Commencement in the spring.

According to new member Anna R. Blair '98, a Slavic languages and literature concentrator, election into Phi Beta Kappa includes a key, a "secret handshake" and prestige.

"It was so nice to receive this academic honor," Blair said. "It just comes out of the blue and it's a great surprise."

Blair said that the motto of Phi Beta Kappa is "Love of wisdom, the guide of life."

The three Greek letters stand for friendship, morality and literature, or learning.

"It's a representation of how I've spent my time here," said Donyne Y. Choo '98, a history and science concentrator living in Lowell House. "It's something that's easily recognized around the world as a symbol of hard work and dedication."

According to Supinda Bunyavanich '98, an environmental science and public policy concentrator, Phi Beta Kappa provides support for primary and secondary education.

The society also gives grants for different projects.

"In the long run, I'm sure it's going to be beneficial to me," said Thomas E. Gunderson '98, an applied mathematics concentrator. "When I'm applying to graduate school, looking for a job--things like that."

Most new members said they were excited to be selected.

"I'm very happy," said Abigail R. Branch '98, a social studies concentrator living in Quincy House. "I'm honored and pleased."

Other new members spoke of the community they anticipate with other new members.

"The nicest thing for me was to be able to share this honor with the others," Blair said. "I hadn't known who was going to receive membership. I learned something new about these people who I had known in a different context."

"It just goes to show that here at Harvard, you never know how people are doing academically," Choo said. "You just know them as people."

Although all the new members said they felt honored, some were unsure of the reaction from the general Harvard community.

"I'm honored, but I'm feeling a little ambiguous about it," said an applied mathematics concentrator who was inducted Tuesday. "I've gotten a lot of animosity from people in the past when I've received honors, and I'm not anticipating a good response from this."