Jason Schlude's 2020 Induction Ceremony Address: "The Art of Liberation: Life in the Liberal Arts"


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A new group of College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University students are the latest to receive a select honor.

A total of 58 individuals from CSB and SJU make up the 2020 list of inductees to Phi Beta Kappa’s Theta Chapter of Minnesota. This is the 11th cohort of students who have been inducted into the chapter.

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.

Delegates from more than 200 chapters and associations of Phi Beta Kappa voted to establish the chapter at CSB and SJU Oct. 2, 2009, during their Triennial Council in Austin, Texas.

The CSB and SJU chapter was the eighth Phi Beta Kappa chapter established in Minnesota at the time and was named 'Theta' after the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet.

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.

Those ideals continue today as the society champions the liberal arts and advocates for science education, according to CSB/SJU assistant professor of biology Clark Cotton, who is the chapter’s secretary/treasurer.

Past members have included 17 U.S. Presidents, 41 Supreme Court justices and over 140 Nobel Laureates.

According to the organization’s website, 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and those chapters select only 10 percent of their arts and sciences graduates to join.

An induction ceremony had been planned for April 22, but was canceled because of COVID-19. The chapter worked on an alternate plan for some sort of recognition for the students. Phi Beta Kappa certificates will be mailed to students at a later point in time.