Phi Beta Kappa initiations are a tradition stretching back to the American Revolution. For more than 200 years, our members have gathered to admit the next generation into the Society and see them carry forward the values that we espouse ─ dedication to excellence, freedom of inquiry and expression, the cultivation of skills of deliberation and ethical reflection ─ all bound to a motto inscribed on every Phi Beta Kappa key that says “Love of learning is the guide of life.”
For many of our members, Phi Beta Kappa has become a family tradition as well, with parents and grandparents sharing a connection to the Society and passing on to future generations their love of learning.
If you are a member of a multi-generation Phi Beta Kappa family, we’d love to hear from you. Share your story and photo with us by writing to email@example.com.
Gretchen Daneke Graf (ΦBK, Saint Olaf College, 1973) with her son Ryan Graff (ΦBK, University of North Dakota, 2007). Gretchen writes: “It was great fun for me to help initiate my son Ryan Graf to ΦBK at the University of North Dakota in 2007. I was initiated at Saint Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota in 1973. Although I’m not employed in higher education, the UND chapter is gracious to let me participate here in what’s become my home town, and while initiations are always special, being with my son was the best!”
The Hendel family, L-R: Caroline Hendel (ΦBK, Yale University, 1982), her son Michael Wysolmerski (ΦBK, Yale University, 2011), and her father, Seymour Hendel (ΦBK, Columbia University, 1951). This photo was taken at Michael’s induction ceremony at Yale, December 5, 2011. Caroline writes that her uncle, Myron Hendel, was also made a ΦBK member at Yale. He was inducted there in 1950.
Ben Lukoff (center) was inducted at the University of Washington in 1996. His father, Fred Lukoff (left) was inducted at the University of Pennsylvania in 1947. This photo was taken at Ben’s high school graduation in 1993; his father passed away in 2000.
Rachel Murray (ΦBK, Macalester College, 2009) is a fourth generation Phi Beta Kappa member. Her ΦBK family members include her father Cameron Murray (ΦBK, Beloit College, 1980), paternal grandfather Donald Murray (ΦBK, Dartmouth College, 1933), paternal grandmother Arlene T. Murray (ΦBK, William and Mary, 1941), and paternal great-grandfather William Murray (ΦBK, Dartmouth College, 1902). Worn during her ΦBK induction, Rachel’s necklace carried the keys of her grandmother, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Her dad was wearing his key.
The Wahrman family, L-R: Dr. Eliyahu Cooper, Dr. Abigail R. (Wahrman) Cooper (ΦBK, Rutgers University, 2005), Ilana S. Cooper (in her mother’s arms, future ΦBK), Susanna Wahrman Ratner (ΦBK, Rutgers University, 2008), Michael C. Ratner (ΦBK, Rutgers University, 2008), Dr. Miryam Zahavy Wahrman (ΦBK, Hunter College-CUNY, 1975), Dr. Israel S. Wahrman.
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