PTK inducts 93 new members for fall 2009

By DIANA RUSSELL
Staff Writer

Ninety-three students were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa on November 1, 2009.
The solemn hour-long ceremony took place in the Luciano Theatre with family, friends, and faculty in attendance.
“You are the cream of the crop according to our former president,” advisor Sharon Kewish told the students prior to the ceremony.
Andrew Benfer, president of the Rho Gamma Chapter, welcomed the inductees and gave a brief background of the organization. Phi Theta Kappa was begun at Stevens College in 1918, and is now part of 400 two-year colleges worldwide. Students must have 20 credits and a 3.5GPA to be eligible.
Interim President, Dr. Thomas Isekenegve, congratulated the students.
“You are a testimony of achievement,” he said.
He encouraged the students to go on to a four-year college and come back to Cumberland County to make a contribution.
Professor John Lore shared a Zen saying, “How can one beam alone support a house?” Since it can’t, he encouraged the students to take the time to appreciate the visible and invisible beams that have supported their academic achievement.
“It has taken family members, spouses, teachers, your fellow students, custodians, cafeteria workers, administrators and countless others,” Lore advised.
The Phi Theta Kappa officers explained the symbolism of the Phi Theta Kappa emblem that includes the head of Minerva, the Goddess of Learning. With raised right hands, the inductees recited the oath of membership. Advisors Sharon Kewish and Karrol Jordan called each new member up on stage to sign the Phi Theta Kappa membership book. Dr. Isekenegve gave every new member a hearty congratulatory handshake.
Refreshments were served following the ceremony for the students and their guests. Millie and Joy Bai, sisters from China, provided musical accompaniment on piano and violin throughout the ceremony.
The name Phi Theta Kappa is taken from the initial letters of the Greek words meaning wisdom, aspiration, and purity. The colors are blue for scholarship and gold for purity. The organization is founded on academic excellence and dedicated to servant leadership. Members are eligible for exclusive scholarship opportunities, totaling approximately $36 million, to attend four-year colleges and universities.
According to the Phi Theta Kappa information brochure, “the mission of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.”
The Cumberland County College Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Rho Gamma, began in 1970. Over 1,000 students have been inducted. Professor Sharon Kewish has been the advisor for 34 years and Professor Karrol Jordan is co-advisor.
“Rho Gamma is hoping to become a five star chapter,” said Kewish. “We are currently on level three or four.”
To be considered a five star chapter, Rho Gamma must meet a certain number of activities and attend state and regional meetings in addition to working on campus and in the community. The national chapter sets the criteria as a way of fostering competition and to encourage members to be actively involved reported Kewish.
Members of Rho Gamma are part of the Adopt-a-Road project. Twice yearly they clean up trash along College Drive. In the fall, members make donations to the Cumberland County SPCA, and this year, they adopted three families for the CCC Thanksgiving Basket drive. As part of Project Graduation’s Feed a Body/Feed a Mind, new or slightly used children’s books were collected and distributed to Big Brothers/Big Sisters for the holidays. During the Spring Semester, a canned food drive will take place.
Members also raise funds for the CCC Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship through a two-day bake and gift sale just before Thanksgiving and Easter, and by recycling water bottles and soda cans year round. In 2009, Phi Theta Kappa initiated Project Smoke-Free; a debate to change the campus to a smoke free environment.

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2 thoughts on “PTK inducts 93 new members for fall 2009

  1. I would like to congratulate all of the new members of your chapter. The honor of being involved with Phi Theta Kappa was one of the best of my life. However, I would like to point out a couple of things within the article. Reference is made to the head of Minerva which is inaccurate. the symbolism is actually the head of Athena as referenced within Phi Theta Kappa’s inaugural address. The other point of correction is that currently there are well over 1200 chapters worldwide and not 400. Please see this as a reference and not as context to just verify a mistake. We are all academic oriented which means we learn from others and teach others what we learn, that is all I wish to do here. I have served the society at many many levels and just appreciate the chance to speak to others that share my passions.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Dave. Also in the spirit of academics, I’d just like to point out that “Minerva” is the Roman name for the Greek goddess Athena. Again, thanks for your interest.

    John Lore, faculty advisor to The Voice

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