The Phi Beta Kappa Society has granted its highest recognition for service, the President’s Award, to Joseph W. Gordon of Yale University. Out-going President Fred Cate presented Gordon with the Award’s emblematic Judith F. Krug Medal on August 3, at the Society’s 43rd Triennial Council in Palm Beach, Florida.
Gordon, who is Dean of Undergraduate Education at Yale, is the Award’s first recipient. The bestowal recognizes his extraordinary service to Phi Beta Kappa at the national level for twenty years, as one of its most outstanding advocates of excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.
His long association with Phi Beta Kappa began at Amherst College, where he was elected to membership as a junior. Since then, he has amassed an unparalleled record, including eighteen years as a senator of Phi Beta Kappa, fifteen on the executive committee, membership in the Secretary’s Circle, a term as president of the Society and a term as vice president. He has been a long-time member of its committee on qualifications, facilitating the formation of new chapters.
Gordon joined the dean’s office at Yale in 1988 as associate dean, and was named dean of undergraduate education in 1997. He became deputy dean of Yale College in 1998. A member of the Yale English department since 1976, Gordon was one of the founding directors of the writing program at Yale. He was instrumental in creating both the Writing Center and the Center for Language Study. He is a member of the Provost’s Committee on Lesbian and Gay Studies and has served as chair of that committee.
The President’s Award was created in 2009 by the Phi Beta Kappa Senate at the suggestion of then President Cate. The recipient of this award is presented with the Judith F. Krug Medal as a commemoration of distinguished service.
The Krug Medal symbolizes Phi Beta Kappa’s highest recognition. It is given, from time to time and relatively infrequently, to those who have done truly outstanding and extraordinary service to Phi Beta Kappa as a national organization. The medal is bestowed by the president upon approval of the executive committee.
Judith F. Krug (1940-2009) served as the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association for over forty years, and was executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation. She worked tirelessly to guarantee the rights of individuals to express ideas and read the ideas of others without governmental interference. From 2006 to 2009, she was vice president of Phi Beta Kappa.
Phi Beta Kappa’s Krug Medal is part of her legacy of passionate commitment, advocacy, and positive action to protect the Constitutional rights of citizens granted under the First Amendment. An advisor, author and public servant, she was a remarkable leader in the struggle to educate the public concerning the right to the free expression of ideas.
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