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Phi Beta Kappa recognizes 56 students for academic excellence

A group of College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University students are the latest to receive an elite honor.

A total of 56 students from CSB and SJU make up the 2022 list of inductees to Phi Beta Kappa. This is the 13th cohort of students who have been inducted into the chapter, which now counts over 800 members.

This year’s group includes 45 seniors and 11 juniors. They represent three countries and 11 states. Those selected are Phi Beta Kappa members for life and receive a certificate to honor their achievement.

An in-person ceremony to honor the 56 inductees is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 20. SJU Transitional President James Mullen will provide opening remarks. Shawn Colberg, associate professor of theology who received Phi Beta Kappa recognition while attending St. Olaf College as an undergraduate student, will speak on “Sapientia et Memoria: The Liberal Formation of Self for the World.”

Students are chosen based on their grade-point average (3.85 for juniors, 3.65 for seniors) and must be a liberal arts and/or sciences major. The selection committee also looked at the breadth and depth of the student’s program and other achievements, such as a thesis or other research; interest in other cultures or languages; extracurricular activities; and academic performance.

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Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic society, having been founded in 1776 by several students from the College of William and Mary during the American Revolution. It was originally intended to promote freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression.

There are now 290 chapters at select American colleges and universities, with more than 500,000 members who come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. According to the organization’s website, 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Over 20,000 juniors and seniors are inducted every year.

Past members have included 17 U.S. Presidents, 42 Supreme Court justices and over 150 Nobel Laureates.