Two Gillette students were among 37 new members selected to join the University of Wyoming’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, one of the oldest and most prestigious academic honor societies, for their demonstrated excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, according to an April 3 release from the university.
Former Campbell County School District students Laura Dale and Keifer Schlekeway were each recognized for their excellence in anthropology and English, respectively.
“To be elected, a student needs to show a balanced liberal arts education that accords with the national stipulations, and which we verify by examining every candidate’s transcript in detail,” said Eric Nye, professor emeritus in the Department of English and chapter secretary, in the release. “It is the one distinction prospective employers and graduate schools are swift to notice.”
Nye explained members cannot apply or be nominated to PBK, but are selected by faculty members within the chapter. Membership is also limited to those in the top 10 percent of each graduating class, and PBK members at UW are typically in the top 3-4 percent.
In all, fewer than 1% of U.S. college graduates are chosen.
UW’s chapter, Alpha of Wyoming, currently has more than 100 faculty and staff members.
Most new members are seniors, but a handful of outstanding students are sometimes elected as juniors, Nye said.
Due to concerns about large gatherings related to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, there will not be an induction ceremony for this year’s new PBK members.
PBK selects new members annually from each of its 290 chapters nationwide, per the release. The UW chapter sponsors lectures, scholarships and other academic activities, and will celebrate its 80th anniversary next November.
PBK has been one of the most respected societies in the world for more than 200 years, promoting the ideal of a community of scholarship at the UW chapter since 1940. Chapters also exist at prestigious institutions like Harvard and Yale.