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Phi Beta Kappa


Helen Hoyt

Chair & Associate Professor of Chemistry

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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What do a president's chief of staff, the co-creator of the foundational language of computing, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and the director of the International Women's Human Rights Clinic have in common?

They're all Knox alumni. And they're all members of Phi Beta Kappa.

Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. Knox's chapter is the fourth oldest in Illinois and the first at an exclusively undergraduate, four-year liberal arts college in the state.

Out of more than 3,000 colleges and universities in the U.S., fewer than 300 have chapters.

Knox's first Phi Beta Kappa induction was in 1917. As part of the ceremony, the newly inducted members signed a small, leather-bound book. At the 2016 ceremony of 38 new members (35 seniors and three juniors), the signatures of 2,028 Knox College Phi Beta Kappa members filled the book.

Knox will mark the beginning of the second century of Phi Beta Kappa at Knox in 2017 with a new book of signatures honoring members.

View the most recent class and faculty and staff members of Phi Beta Kappa.

As a member of Phi Beta Kappa, experts in a variety of fields have visited campus to share their knowledge through the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars Program. Recent Phi Beta Kappa scholars include:

  • Dr. Marsha Lester, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, presented "Climate Change: Chemistry, International Assessment, and Policy" in 2016.
  • Dr. Timothy Rowe, J. Nalle Gregory Regents Professor of Geology at the University of Texas, presented "What Happened to the Dinosaurs?" in 2015.
  • John A. Agnew, professor and geography scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, presented "How Immigration Rules Relate to Different Conceptions of Nationality Around the World" in 2013.
  • Doug McAdam, professor of sociology at Stanford University, presented "Burning Down the House: Explaining Geographical Variation in Arson Attacks on Black Churches, 1996-2001," in 2010. 

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Printed on Saturday, June 15, 2024