48 Seniors Elected To Honor Society

Forty-eight seniors were elected to the Harvard College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa on Nov. 14 in the second of three elections for the Class of 2004.

Melissa A. Eccleston ’04, who was among the newly elected members said she was “surprised and honored” upon learning that she had been elected. “It was one of many applications I have filled out in the last few weeks,” she said. “But I hoped I had a decent chance.”

Eccleston had not been informed of her election before The Crimson contacted her.

Christopher J. Phillips ’04, a history of science concentrator, shared Eccleston’s sentiments.

“It’s certainly an honor,” he said. “It’s nice to know one’s work is appreciated.”


The 48 newly elected members spring from a wide variety of concentrations, but the number of students in the humanities dropped slightly from recent years, according to James F. Coakley ’68, the Harvard chapter secretary.

Usually approximately one quarter of the newly elected members come from the humanities, but this year only 10 out of the 48 were humanities concentrators, he said.

Twenty-six of the newly elected members are pursuing a degree in the social sciences, a number which has remained almost constant from last year. Commonly half of those elected come out of the social sciences.

A quarter of the members elected this November are studying the natural sciences.

Coakley declined to comment on possible reasons for the slight decline in the number of students in the humanities elected to the prestigious organization.

Students are elected to the Harvard College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in three elections—one at the end of the junior year, and then two over the course of the senior year—upon careful examination of their academic record and two letters of recommendation from instructors.

Twenty-four juniors are elected in April, 48 seniors in November and an additional group of seniors numbering nearly 100 in May, thus bringing the total number of students elected in each graduating class to about 10 percent.

The election committee is made up of members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and staff, who are members of Phi Beta Kappa, as well as current undergraduate members of the chapter.

Those elected this fall are:

From Adams House: Naomi O. Hausman, Blake Jennelle, Christopher J. Phillips and Jessica M. Rosenberg.