The Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship


About the Award

The Phi Beta Kappa Society proudly awards the Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship annually to scholars in the field of philosophy without restriction to any one school of philosophical thought. The professorship recognizes both distinguished achievement and 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.

Consisting of three lectures to be offered at or near the awardee’s home institution, this Professorship offers an exceptional opportunity for Phi Beta Kappa chapters to champion the liberal arts and sciences on their campus, showcase deserving philosophy faculty from their own institutions, and foster greater 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 the awardee’s home 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. Materials in support of the nomination may be written and collected by the nominee and given to a chapter officer for submission to the Society. 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. The letters should be written by individuals familiar with the nominee’s qualifications for the award.
  • 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.
  • A Professorship nominee is not required to be a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Each chapter is invited to submit one nomination per cycle. Chapters must submit application materials online using this form. This cycle’s nominations are now closed and will reopen in Fall 2024.

Applications Closed

Chapter Commitment

The National Office will assist the nominating chapter with publicity for the lecture series event(s) and upon receipt of a proposed budget, will provide up to $1,500 to help cover costs associated with the lecture series. In recognition of the chapter’s commitment to and assistance with the award, the chapter whose nominee is selected will also receive $1,500 to assist with general chapter support in the academic year of the lecture series.

The Romanell Lectures may be given individually over the course of the year or all at once on a given day or set of days.  We encourage the nominating chapter to work with the Society’s national office staff and with the Philosophy Department at the sheltering institution to schedule, organize and publicize the event. Chapters are also encouraged to reach out to their local association, if applicable, to further extend the reach of the lecture series.


Nominations for Romanell Professorship

Apply here

2019 Romanell Winner

Naomi Zack, Ph.D.

Staff Contact

Please email or call 202-745-3287 with any inquiries.