The Phi Beta Kappa Society installs Gamma of Mississippi Chapter at MSU

Contact: Allison Matthews

Honorees and officials at the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Gamma of Mississippi Chapter installation and new member induction ceremony at Mississippi State University on April 2 included, from left, Shackouls Honors College Dean Christopher Snyder; Professor of English Matthew Little; Associate Professor of Chemistry Nickolas Fitzkee; Professor of Psychology Thomas Carskadon; Associate Professor of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures Molly Zuckerman; Professor of English Robert West (at podium); Frederick M. Lawrence, Phi Beta Kappa Secretary/CEO (not pictured); Lynn Pasquerella, Phi Beta Kappa Society President and Association of American Colleges and Universities President; MSU President Mark E. Keenum; Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner; College of Arts and Sciences Dean Rick Travis; renowned art director and designer Myrna Colley-Lee; and retired physician, philanthropist and MSU alumnus Dr. Richard Holmes. Also, not pictured is retired MSU Professor Robert Wolverton. Best-selling author and MSU alum John Grisham and MSU Rhodes Scholar Donald “Field” Brown also were honored but were unable to be present. (Photo by Logan Kirkland)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The Phi Beta Kappa Society installed a new chapter at Mississippi State University Tuesday [April 2] at a ceremony at The Mill at MSU Conference Center in Starkville. Following the installation, the new Gamma of Mississippi chapter inducted 77 students selected for their extraordinary academic achievement in the arts and sciences. 

Phi Beta Kappa Key

Frederick M. Lawrence, Phi Beta Kappa Secretary/CEO, Lynn Pasquerella, Phi Beta Kappa Society President and Association of American Colleges and Universities President, and Robert West, Professor of English and President of the Gamma of Mississippi chapter, presided over the installation and induction. A celebratory dinner followed the ceremonies, attended by university leaders, including MSU President Mark E. Keenum, 45 Phi Beta Kappa faculty and staff members, and newly inducted students, many with family members attending.

Lawrence, acknowledging the significance of the university’s achievement, said, “Mississippi State University’s commitment to the liberal arts and sciences as well as its nurturing of an environment that allows its students to soar should be recognized and celebrated. In a challenging time for public higher education, this commitment is an inspiration to us all. We congratulate the university and our newest Phi Beta Kappa members on their accomplishment, and look forward to a bright future for the chapter here in Starkville.”

Prospective Phi Beta Kappa inductees are among the top 10 percent of their graduating class who have completed a broad range of liberal arts and sciences coursework, including foreign language study and mathematics.

In addition to the students, Gamma of Mississippi also inducted eight Foundation members, chosen for their commitment to the ideals of the liberal arts and sciences, including President Keenum and best-selling author and Mississippi State alum John Grisham. The chapter also honored the following individuals as Foundation members:

MSU President Mark E. Keenum signs the Phi Beta Kappa register of the new Gamma of Mississippi Chapter at Mississippi State University. Keenum was among eight Foundation members inducted April 2, along with 77 students who represent the inaugural Bulldog members. The chapter also includes 45 Phi Beta Kappa faculty and staff members. (Photo by Logan Kirkland)

—MSU Provost Judy Bonner;

—MSU Rhodes Scholar Donald “Field” Brown;

—Renowned art director and designer Myrna Colley-Lee;

—Retired physician, philanthropist and MSU alumnus Dr. Richard Holmes;

—MSU College of Arts and Sciences Dean Rick Travis; and

—Retired MSU Professor Robert Wolverton.

“The installation of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Mississippi State University is the culmination of years of dedicated work on the part of so many scholars on this campus, past and present,” said President Keenum. “We celebrate this accomplishment as a university family and I’m particularly grateful to English Professor Robert West for leading this effort in recent years. This will serve our high-achieving students here for generations to come.”

MSU becomes the 287th U.S. college or university to shelter a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Installations of new chapters occur only every three years and follow an intensive, multi-year application and evaluation process that includes two rounds of data collection and a visit from members of the Phi Beta Kappa Committee on Qualifications. Among the criteria reviewed are the university’s educational rigor in the arts and sciences, governance structure, faculty excellence, demonstrated commitment to academic freedom, and institutional dedication to liberal arts education.

Later this month, three additional Phi Beta Kappa chapters will be installed at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, Chapman University, Orange, California, and University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

About Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University is a comprehensive, doctoral degree-granting university designated by the Carnegie Foundation as an R-1 “Very High Research Activity” institution. The university offers a wide range of opportunities and challenges for learning and growth to a diverse and capable student body. Also listed among the National Science Foundation’s Top 100 research universities, MSU provides access and opportunity to students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries. With a strong portfolio in the humanities, MSU’s largest academic unit is its College of Arts and Sciences, which includes more than 5,300 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 25 academic majors offered in 14 departments. MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States, 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 41 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 140 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit

Phi Beta Kappa Society

Gamma of Mississippi Chapter new student inductees (by hometown)

The Phi Beta Kappa Society’s newest chapter, the Gamma of Mississippi Chapter installed April 2 at Mississippi State University, inducted 77 new student members selected for their extraordinary academic achievement in the arts and sciences. The nation’s most prestigious academic honors society was founded in 1776, and its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. (Photo by Logan Kirkland)

Arlington, Tennessee—Grace Smith, Psychology

Arlington, Texas—Rylie Simmons, Spanish/Human Development and Family Science

Atoka, Tennessee—Jaylan Sears, Biological Sciences

Aurora, Illinois—Jared Liebelt, Psychology

Biloxi—Denton Hunter, French/Business Administration; and Helen Schwartz, English

Birmingham, Alabama—Rachel Nix, Spanish/Management; and David Sides, German/Business Administration

Brandon—Stephanie Flynt, Political Science; Lily Hebert, English/Psychology; and Katelyn Provine, Microbiology

Cartersville, Georgia—Juliana Jones, English

Centreville, Virginia—Brianna Tibbetts, Psychology

Clinton—Claire Hilton, Communication

Columbus—Ashley Imes, French/Management; and Brian Schmidt, Political Science

Decatur, Alabama—Laura Ingouf, Anthropology/History

Franklin, Tennessee—Kali Hicks, Communication/Spanish

Gardendale, Alabama—Lauren Lindsey, Biological Sciences

Gautier—Brittany Mizell, Communication/French

Griffin, Georgia—Benjamin Hobbs, German/Finance

Gulfport—Sarah Wooden, Asian Studies (FL)/Marketing

Jackson—Katherine Carter, Psychology; Robyn Hadden, Spanish/Biochemistry; and Molly Terry, Spanish/Marketing

Lindale, Texas—Rachel Booth, Psychology

Los Angeles, California—Gentry Burkes, English/History

Lucedale—Kristen Holifield, Political Science

Macon, Georgia—Madison Baima, Biological Sciences

Madison—James Given, Spanish/Economics (B.S.); Wilson Lutz, Biological Sciences; and Amye McDonald, Microbiology

Mandeville, Louisiana—Avery Ferguson, English

Maylene, Alabama—Mackenzie Andrews, Spanish/Management

Memphis, Tennessee—Tabitha Campbell, Spanish/Marketing; and John Haynes, Classics/History

Meridian—Emma Moffett, English/Communication

Middletown, Ohio—Grace Robinson, French/Marketing

Mississippi State—Victoria Lightner, Spanish/Accounting

Monticello, Arkansas—Anna Dickson, Microbiology

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina—Sarah Doll, Criminology

Munford, Tennessee— Meghan Brino, Biological Sciences

Murfreesboro, Tennessee—Nicholas Street, Finance/French

New Albany— Thomas Browning, Communication

North Augusta, South Carolina—Sara Tyrrell, Biological Sciences/Asian Studies (FL)

Ocean Springs—Bryson Krause, Physics/Mechanical Engineering; and Claire Williams, Spanish/Marketing

Olive Branch—Hayden Campbell, Political Science; and Rebecca Poyner, English

Owens Cross Roads, Alabama—William Textor, English

Oxford—Frances Crawford, English/German; and Courtney Fleming, Mathematics

Panama City Beach, Florida—Laura Herring, Spanish/Management

Pass Christian— Kristen Brown, Biological Sciences

Pensacola, Florida— Anna Bills, English/Philosophy

Piperton, Tennessee—John Gwin, Chemistry

Poplarville— Robert Merrell, Mathematics

Raleigh—Lauren Scott, Anthropology

Ridgeland—Krishna Desai, Economics (B.A.)/Political Science

Ruston, Louisiana—Hannah Scheaffer, French/Biochemistry

Saint Petersburg, Florida—Abigail Kepto, Criminology

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida—Lauren Koury, Chemistry

Shalimar, Florida—Kyle Winston, History/Microbiology

Southaven—Katherine Wintermantel, Spanish/Marketing

Starkville—Sherisse Carino, English; David Houston, Spanish/Marketing; Ryan Jeffries, French/Marketing; Suyeun Kim, Political Science; Marisa Laudadio, Communication/Political Science; Hayden Manning, Anthropology/Classics; Katelyn Poe, English; Kathleen Ritter, Communication; Allison Story, Psychology; Kathryn Stringer, English

Sturgis—Rebekah Bisson, English/Philosophy (Religion concentration)

Tinley Park, Illinois—Austin Thelen, Spanish/Finance

West Plains, Missouri—Juliette Reid, English