Honors awarded to ‘key’ students

by Julia Ernst

Students with majors in the School of Liberal Arts, Education and Sciences (CLAES) were honored last night by being inducted into the Honor Key Society, a part of the Faculty Phi Beta Kappa Club.

Marilyn Quinn, associate professor, librarian and president of Phi Beta Kappa, explained to inductees and their families at the beginning of the ceremony what their newly earned memberships mean.

“Inductees have demonstrated their dedication to the highest goals of education through a variety of admirable choices,” Quinn said. “For example, by combining two major programs or by complementing a major with one or more minors; by choosing elective courses that strengthen their competencies and open up new avenues for reflection and connection; and by undertaking independent research projects that demand both rigorous research and creative thinking.”

Kendall Friedman, director of the Student Success Center and a member of the advisory board who selects students to be inducted, said that membership in the Honor Key Society is the highest accolade a student in a Liberal Arts program of study can aim to achieve.

“The Honor Key Society is really the most prestigious honor that a student enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts can earn,” Friedman said. “To be inducted in Honor Key, students not only have to have a high GPA, but their course of study at Rider has to demonstrate dedication to the ideals of a liberal education.”

At the ceremony, Dr. Roberta Clipper Sethi, a professor in the English department and guide of the induction, led inductees into the Cavalla Room in the Bart Leudeke Center (BLC), where they were then presented for induction as their names were read aloud. Dr. Joseph Nadeau, dean of CLAES, approved them for membership.

During her introduction, Quinn praised the newly inducted members of the Honor Key Society for their accomplishments.

“The records of the students approved for membership have undergone a holistic evaluation by a panel of faculty and administrators who seek evidence of both depth and breadth of learning, authentic curiosity and a sense of encountering the unfamiliar,” Quinn said.

Friedman provided additional information on what inductees have done to earn a place in the Honor Key Society.

“They’re measured not just by how well they do academically, but by the depth and breadth of their academic risk-taking,” she said. “We want to see students who take courses out of their comfort zone.”

At the end of the ceremony, Dr. Nadeau gave the Richard Alexander Honors Address, which was dedicated to the late Dr. Alexander, who passed away suddenly in December 2007. The speech was entitled “Who Said That?” and used six of Nadeau’s favorite quotes to provide advice to the students, which included nurturing a love of reading, traveling and learning how to handle difficult situations.

Several inductees talked about what the honor meant to them.

“I’m happy about it,” said junior philosophy major Marius Pascale. “I’ve heard it’s a pretty prestigious honor society, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Junior Michael Ferrara, a double major in music and American Studies, echoed Pascale’s feelings about the ceremony.

“I am honored to be inducted,” said Ferrara. “It’s nice to be acknowledged for academic success.”

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