Caldwell, N.J., April 3, 2017 – The Caldwell University chapter of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi inducted 34 new members at a ceremony on March 30. Students, administration, faculty, staff and alumni joined the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society.
William Velhagen, president of the Caldwell chapter, gave the introductions. “We are pleased and proud that each has chosen to become part of a century-old community of scholars and professionals that includes men and women who have distinguished themselves in positions of leadership and whose careers have been characterized by achievement.”
University president Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., who was pivotal in bringing the honor society to Caldwell and served on its national board for six years, congratulated the class on joining the community of scholars, which she said represented the “very best of all disciplines.”
Joseph Posillico, vice president for enrollment management and communications, was one of the inductees. “I was honored to be inducted along with my esteemed colleagues and so many deserving students. The motto of Phi Kappa Phi encompasses for many of us our passion: ‘Let the love of learning rule humanity.’”
Theresa Henry, a junior who was inducted, said the motto will stick with her forever. “I hope that I will strive to learn something new every day and share that knowledge with my peers.”
Shyam Sharma, senior and president of the Student Government Association, said it was an “incredible ceremony” for the new inductees. “Being inducted into an honor society with a rich history and mission like Phi Kappa Phi is truly a humbling experience. “
Phi Kappa Phi elects its membership from all academic fields within the university. The faculty, staff and alumni inductees were Dr. Agnes T. Berki, Dr. Ellina Chernobilsky, Maureen Kenney, Joseph Posillico and Sister Catherine C. Waters, O.P.
The student inductees were: Amanda Appleby, Stephanie Bendush, Jennifer Ashley Bitetto, Dennis Brady, Samantha Ann Bremer, Alexandra Campanaro, Melissa Marie Cook, Alyssa Marie DiNapoli, Caitlyn Doyle, Kathleen Drwiega, Steven Eigenlaub, Michelle Eng, Brittany Finneran, Erin Sullivan Goldstein, Kelly Marilly Gonzalez, Victoria Amanda Grzelak, Danielle Anne Hamblin, Theresa Gail Henry, Rikki L. Herman, Lindsey Horowitz, Sheri Beth Horowitz-Jay, David Jones, Silvia Lambiase, Chelsea Nicolle Maher, Michelle Mayrer, Kelly Neill, Daniella L. Preston, Kimberly A. Rothenberger, Jessica R. Shackil, Shyam Sharma, Tammy Underwood-Daniel, Kiana Valenzuela, Diana C. Velazquez and Cassandra E. Winnie.
Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 under the leadership of Marcus L. Urann, who wanted to create a different kind of honor society—one that recognized excellence in all academic disciplines. Today, the society has chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States and the Philippines and inducts more than 30,000 new members each year. Membership is by invitation only to the top 7.5 percent of juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students, along with faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.
The society’s mission is “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Since its founding, more than 1.25 million members have been initiated. Some of the organization’s more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, novelist David Baldacci and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. The society has awarded approximately $15 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, more than $1 million is awarded each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, member and chapter awards and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.