Joseph Gordon Named Vice President of Phi Beta Kappa

Yale’s Dean of Undergraduate Studies Joseph W. Gordon was elected vice president of the nation’s most venerable academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, during its 38th triennial Council, which convened in Chicago last week. The election places Dr. Gordon in direct line to assume the presidency of the society in the year 2000.

Phi Beta Kappa Executive Secretary Douglas W. Foard observed, “This election certainly confirms the deep personal and professional admiration for Dr. Gordon in evidence among both chapter and alumni association delegates to the Council.”

More than 400 delegates from liberal arts campuses across the country gathered for the Council to “reflect on our present situation, to see where we stand and what we stand for,” in the words of Frederick Crosson, the Cavanaugh Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Notre Dame, who is Phi Beta Kappa’s president-elect. Delegates to the Council considered the recommendations of the Policy Committee, which completed the first full assessment of Phi Beta Kappa’s past and future roles in higher education in a quarter century. Dean Gordon was one of the principal authors of the Policy Committee’s report.

Mr. Gordon earned his B.A. degree from Amherst College in 1970, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and won the Rice Prize for his senior thesis. He came to Yale as a graduate student in the Department of English, earning his Ph.D. degree in 1978. Since that time, he has served as a lecturer and assistant professor of English, and has directed the Bass Writing Program, the Yale/Mellon Visiting Faculty Program, and Yale Summer and Special Programs. In 1988 he became associate dean of Yale College and dean of undergraduate studies.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa’s governing body since 1994, Dean Gordon has served the honor society for many years in a variety of positions including membership on the Committee on Qualifications, which reviews applications for new chapters, and the committees for visiting scholar and special awards programs.

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. With chapters on 255 of the most prestigious campuses, and chartered alumni associations in over 50 metropolitan areas, Phi Beta Kappa’s mission is to foster and to recognize excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. The society’s distinctive emblem, the golden key, is widely recognized as a symbol of academic achievement. Through its chapters, alumni associations and associates organization, the society provides more than $1 million each year for scholarships and visiting lectureships across the country.

For further information, call Anthony D. McIvor at (202) 265-3808.

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