The Phi Beta Kappa Senate created the John Hope Franklin Award in 2011 to honor distinguished historian, author, and 18th President of Phi Beta Kappa, John Hope Franklin. This award recognizes individuals for exemplary long-standing service to the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
The inaugural John Hope Franklin Awards were presented to Bette Napoli Harris, James Lightner, and Don Wyatt at the 44th Triennial Council, held in Denver, CO in October 2015.
Bette Napoli Harris’ long and broad service to Phi Beta Kappa began in 1987, when she first became President of the thriving Northern California Phi Beta Kappa Association. Since then she has served as served the Southern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa in several capacities, including as President. Harris is very involved with the Western District of the Society, and has just concluded her service as Chair of the Society’s Conference of Association Delegates.
James Lightner has been a Fellow of Phi Beta Kappa for many years. After he was elected to the Senate in 2006, he served as Chair of the Committee on Chapters. During his Senate years, he was a steadfast champion of chapters, working diligently to make sure the national office understood chapter concerns. While on the Senate, Lightner also served two terms on the Executive Committee.
Don Wyatt has been a longtime stalwart of the Middlebury College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, serving as its president on two separate occasions, the last for the past twenty-five years. During this time Wyatt also served two terms as a Phi Beta Kappa Senator, and chaired the Committee on Awards. He also is a member of the Society’s Committee on Qualifications, which vets college and universities applying for new chapters.