Improvisation and the Liberal Arts

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Sixty-two students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University were inducted into the Theta of Minnesota Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at CSB and SJU at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, 2018, at Pellegrene Auditorium, SJU. This event was followed by an invitation-only banquet for Phi Beta Kappa members and their guests in the Great Hall, SJU.

SJU President Michael Hemesath gave welcoming remarks, and Fr. Bob Koopmann, OSB, ’68, president emeritus of SJU and professor of music at CSB and SJU, delivered the keynote address, “Improvisation and the Liberal Arts,” which starts at 31:20 in the induction ceremony video recording provided here.

In 2010, Koopmann was named a Foundation member of the chapter. Foundation members are persons affiliated with a new chapter’s sheltering institution who have distinguished themselves by their past support of the liberal arts and who become patrons of the new chapter at its inception.

Jon McGee ’84, vice president of planning and strategy at CSB and SJU, was inducted this year into the Theta of Minnesota Chapter as an SJU alumnus member.

A total of 50 seniors and 12 juniors were selected by faculty members at CSB and SJU who are members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society (founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Virginia). There are 38 students from CSB and 24 from SJU in this year's group.

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.

This is the ninth cohort of students who have been inducted into the chapter. 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 and was named 'Theta' after the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet.

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Fr. Bob Koopmann’s keynote address, “Improvisation and the Liberal Arts,” starts at 31:20 in the induction ceremony video recording provided here.