The Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship


About the Award

The Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship is awarded annually to scholars in the field of philosophy, without restriction to any one school of philosophical thought. The professorship recognizes not only distinguished achievement but also the recipient’s contribution or potential contribution to public understanding of philosophy. Established in 1983, the endowment honors Patrick Romanell (ΦBK, Brooklyn College), H.Y. Benedict Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso, and his wife Edna Romanell. 

This Professorship offers an exceptional opportunity for Phi Beta Kappa chapters to show appreciation for faculty in philosophy from their own institutions and to foster wider public dialogue on important philosophical questions.

Lecture Details

The professorship carries a stipend of $7,500, which will be awarded in addition to the recipient’s regular salary. The professorship is not renewable. The recipient will be expected to give a series of three special lectures during the year of the professorship. The lectures are to be given on or near a Phi Beta Kappa chapter sheltering institution and must be open to the general public as well as to the academic community.

Publishing Opportunity

The winner of the Professorship has the opportunity to prepare their lectures for publication in a monograph series that the Oxford University Press has created featuring Phi Beta Kappa Romanell Lectures. 

The Oxford University Press: Romanell Lectures

All Talked Out: Naturalism and the Future of Philosophy by J.D. Trout

Tragic Failures: How and Why We are Harmed by Toxic Chemicals by Carl F. Cranor
What do Philosophers Do? Skepticism and the Practice of Philosophy by Penelope Maddy

Nomination Process

The 3-year rolling nomination form is to be completed by a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter Officer. If a nominee is not selected, he/she will remain in the candidate pool for the subsequent two years. The nomination form must include the following:
  • A brief explanation of the nominee’s current philosophical interests and how the nominee meets the following criteria: “The Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship in Philosophy is intended to recognize not only the distinguished achievement but also the recipient’s contribution or potential contribution to public understanding of philosophy.”
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae.
  • Two letters, only, of support for the nominee. One of the letters should come from someone outside the sheltering institution.
  • Three brief paragraphs outlining the overall scope or thesis of the proposed lecture series, as delivered in three parts. This need not be considered a binding proposal and can be written by the nominee.
For all nominations, use this form.
  • A Professorship nominee is not required to be a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
  • All nominations must be submitted to the National Office by a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter.
  • Each chapter is invited to submit one nomination per year.  
Nomination Deadline: July 15, 2022

Chapter Commitment

The nominating chapter, should its nominee be selected as the Romanell Professor, is responsible for scheduling, organizing, and publicizing the lecture series. This includes any necessary communications with the Romanell Professor, Department of Philosophy, and/or the sheltering institution. The Phi Beta Kappa National Office will assist in publicity for the event(s) and upon receipt of a proposed budget, will provide the Chapter with up to $1,000 to help cover costs associated with the lecture series.
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Nominations for Romanell Professorship

2019 Romanell Winner

2019 Romanell Winner

Naomi Zack, Ph.D.

Staff Contact

Please email Hadley Kelly at with any inquiries.