For more than 200 years, our members have been gathering at colleges and universities around the country to admit the next generation into Phi Beta Kappa. We celebrate the love of learning that inspired them, and all the generations of ΦBK before them, to pursue excellence in their academic work and value a life of the mind.
A love of learning, however, doesn’t begin with a college entrance exam. It starts long before that, with parents and grandparents, uncles, aunts, older brothers and sisters, with a family that teaches its children about hard work, about what is valuable, and what’s worth striving for.
Some of them have ΦBK keys of their own.
Is there more than one ΦBK member in your family? Send us your photo to include in our family album by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above: Blanche Stanley delights her granddaughter, Christine, with her gold Phi Beta Kappa key, circa 1970.
Phi Beta Kappa and the University of Iowa are both family traditions for Kristine Meyer Conlon (ΦBK, University of Iowa, 1972) and her son, John Conlon (ΦBK, University of Iowa, 1999).
The Ernsberger family has three generations of ΦBK members: Paul Edgar Ernsberger (ΦBK, University of Rochester, 1926), his son David Jacques Ernsberger (ΦBK, Wesleyan University, 1953), and grandson Paul Ernsberger (ΦBK, Macalester College, 1978). Pictured on the left, Paul is the chair of the research committee for the ΦBK chapter at Case Western Reserve. His father, David, is on the right.
Jacquelyn Fisher Cortright (third from left, next to her grandmother) became a ΦBK member at the University of Virginia in 1973. She was in the first graduating class of women in the College of Arts and Sciences there. Her mother, Jean Prichard Fisher (far right), became a member at George Washington University in 1947. And her grandmother, Annie Catherine Martin Prichard (center), was inducted at the University of Alabama in 1923. Jacquelyn writes that she has all three keys and wears them proudly. (The photo on the left was taken at Jean's sister's wedding in 1961. Jean, Jacquelyn's mother, is in the background holding flowers.)
Jessica Hunter sent us this photo of her with her grandfather, Richard Hunter, who is holding a photograph of his mother and her great-grandmother, Helen Wheeler Hunter. Richard was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 1948 at the City College of New York and Helen was inducted in 1912 at Wellesley. Jessica writes: “My grandfather was the first person I called when I found out about my election at Yale in 2009. I was very proud to wear his key as well as my great-grandmother's at my induction ceremony.”
The Hurst family (L-R): Katherine Hurst Miller, was awarded her ΦBK key in 2003 at Vanderbilt University, where she earned her B.A., followed by her J.D. degree at Stetson University. Mary Jane Hurst, received her key at Miami University in 1973, where she earned her B.A. She then earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Maryland. Daniel L. Hurst, was awarded his ΦBK key in 1974 at Denison University, where he earned his B.A. He then earned his M.D. at Ohio State. Mary Jane writes: “We all value our association with Phi Beta Kappa very much!”
The Koven family (L-R): Vance Koven (ΦBK, Queens College-CUNY, 1968), Josiah Koven-Matasy, Veronica Koven-Matasy (ΦBK, Harvard, 2010) and friend, Nathaniel Koven (ΦBK, Hiram College, 2006), and Katherine Matasy. Vance writes that he wants to be sure you take note of Nathaniel’s ΦBK “bling”!
Nancy Jean Matchett Kubik tells us that her maternal grandmother and great grandmother were both Wellesley College graduates. “We’re not aware of their being in ΦBK, but the fact that we are the third and fourth generation of college educated women in our families likely has something to do with our own academic achievements (and is an advantage very few women share even today),” she writes. Pictured on the left is Nancy’s mom, Sarah Meyer Matchett (ΦBK, Wellesley College, 1961), reading to Nancy’s children (future ΦBKs). Nancy Jean Matchett Kubik (ΦBK, Brown University, 1989) is on the right.
Father and daughter ΦBKs (L-R): Bethann Ritter (ΦBK, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 2001), Dennis Ritter (ΦBK, Muhlenburg College, 1973), and Cynthia Ritter (ΦBK, Ursinus College, 2006).
To see earlier ΦBK Family Albums, click here.
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