The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi engaged more than 300 delegates, candidates, board, staff, and guests in a conversation on higher educa- tion at its 43rd Convention held Aug. 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency St.
Louis at the Arch.
Nearly 200 of these chapter officers arrived early to participate in a
Partnering for Success (PFS) training, an interactive workshop that provides strategies for chapter enhancement.
Generations expert and XYZ University founder Sarah Sladek provided
a PFS plenary address Thursday, Aug. 7, on how chapters can reach all
generations, posing the question, “What does Phi Kappa Phi do better
than anyone else?” Knowing that answer — whether it is awards or grants
programs, service opportunities, or leadership and networking offerings —
and using it, is the way to generating an engaged and meaningful membership across all generations, explained Sladek.
That evening, approximately 150 convention attendees enjoyed a “taste
of St. Louis” dinner and tour of Anheuser-Busch Brewery that included
an up-close visit and photo opportunity with Jake the Clydesdale.
Convention commenced on Aug. 8 with a keynote address from E.
Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University. “I can say without a
doubt that higher education today is more important than it has ever been,
I believe, in the history of this country,” stated Gee.
Continuing, he emphasized that higher education administrators — including those serving as Phi Kappa Phi chapter officers at the more than
300 colleges and universities — must bear the responsibility to further advance the institution of higher education.
During the first governance session, 2012-14 Society President Diane
G. Smathers declared in her State of the Society Address, “We have made
“We are a very solvent, a very robust Society, but we must also plan,
strategically, for the future,” she said.
Phi Kappa Phi Executive Director Mary Todd reviewed the four guiding
principles of the Society’s strategic plan — identity, members, chapters and
resources — and highlighted the key achievements of the Society from the
past biennium. An echoing theme, “Everything connects to everything,”
was reiterated throughout the breakdown of the successes, which included:
n The announcement of two new award programs — a doctoral disser-
tation award and a $100,000 Excellence in Innovation achievement
award to be given to a deserving institution in 2016
n The installation of nine new chapters
n The creation of a “Healthy Chapter” initiative designed to strengthen
Society chapters nationwide
n The acquirement of a membership marketing agency to assist with a
large-scale reinstatement and awareness campaign
Other convention happenings:
n With a video tribute, the convention paused to honor the late Ray Syl-
vester, 2012-14 Society President-Elect who was to assume the presi-
dency at the close of convention. It was announced that the new ser-
vice award has been named in his memory, The Ray Sylvester Distin-
guished Service Award.
n The assembly elected Timothy L. Hulsey, associate provost of the
Honors and Scholars programs at University of Tennessee, as Society
President to complete Sylvester’s term.
n Gypsy M. Denzine, associate provost of engagement and outreach at
West Virginia University, was elected 2014-16 Society President-Elect.
n Delegates approved changes to the Society Bylaws that will decrease
the overall size of the board from 15 to 11, effective 2014-16, along
with other changes that will streamline the Bylaws by moving some
items to a policies and procedures manual.
n U.S. Capitol guide and Phi Kappa Phi member Alise Orloff presented
the American flag that flew over the Capitol on March 15, 2013, in rec-
ognition of the Society and its 116-year history of honoring excellence.
n The 2014-16 Phi Kappa Phi Scholar Carolyn Eggleston, professor of
education at California State University, San Bernardino, and Ray
Sylvester Distinguished Service Award recipient Peter Larlham, pro-
fessor emeritus at San Diego State University, addressed the conven-
tion during a dinner. Additional Phi Kappa Phi award winners spoke
at other mealtime events.
n A panel of three provosts discussed issues impacting higher education.
For more 2014 Biennial Convention highlights, including E. Gordon
Gee’s keynote speech, the video tribute to Ray Sylvester, and photos, go
online to www.phikappaphi.org/convention.
While in St. Louis, convention attendees enjoyed a tour of the
oldest and largest Anheuser-Busch Brewery and a “selfie”
opportunity with Jake, one of the world-famous Budweiser
Clydesdales, at the historic stables built in 1885.