MONDAY, MAY 20, 2019
COMMENCEMENT 2019 NATALIA WIATER/the Justice
89 new Phi Beta Kappa members inducted at ceremony THU LE/the Justice
‘CLASS OF 2019, LET’S MAKE THINGS HAPPEN’: R Remi Matthews ’19 delivered the undergraduate student address.
THU LE/the Justice
NOAH ZEITLIN/the Justice
‘I WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL TO BRANDEIS’: Akash Kalra MBA ’19 delivered the graduate student address.
“We cannot be against just one ‘-ism’ to the exclusion of all others. If we are going to fight prejudice, we must fight it across the board.” —Deborah Lipstadt MA ’72, PhD ’76
The Brandeis community honored 89 Phi Beta Kappa inductees at an initiation ceremony in the Spingold Theater on May 18. There were 81 graduating seniors and eight juniors recognized for their achievements. Phi Beta Kappa is the United States’ first and “most prestigious” undergraduate honors society, according to a program distributed at the event. A student is eligible to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa if they have good grades, a well-rounded course load and a faculty nomination letter vouching for their achievements and moral character, per the event program. Associate Professor Alice Kelikian (HIST), the president of Brandeis’ chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, kicked off the event by welcoming the inductees. Kelikian said that as the first woman in her family to graduate from college and the first woman to be inducted into Princeton University’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, it was “an honor to officiate today.” She then invited University President Ron Liebowitz to the podium. Liebowitz commended Brandeis students for their passion for learning. “The breadth and depth of curiosity among so many Brandeisians is, in my view, unusual for college and university campuses today,” he said. Liebowitz also explained that in its early days, Phi Beta Kappa only accepted white men, and pointed out that Brandeis’ 2019 inductees were nearly two-thirds women. According to Liebowitz, Brandeis received a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 1961, only 13 years after the University was founded. After Liebowitz spoke, Brandeis’ Phi Beta Kappa secretary, Prof. Craig Blocker (PHYS), detailed the history of the organization. Founded on December 5, 1776 at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa
recognizes students who demonstrate “excellence in the liberal arts and sciences,” according to the Phi Beta Kappa website. Ten percent of institutions of higher learning have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and ten percent of students in each class are elected, Blocker said. He also said that the society began admitting women in 1875. According to the Phi Beta Kappa website, the first Black member was inducted in 1874. Associate Professor and Brandeis Phi Beta Kappa treasurer Xing Hang (HIST) read the names of the inductees as they came to the stage to accept their certificates. 54-year Phi Beta Kappa member and Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry Irving Epstein (CHEM) gave the Phi Beta Kappa Address. According to Epstein, 17 United States presidents, 38 Supreme Court Justices and over 130 Nobel laureates are Phi Beta Kappa members. He also pointed out that Mark Twain, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Peyton Manning had been inducted into the society. Epstein encouraged the inductees to find a career they were so passionate about that they’d be willing to do the work for no pay. “All of you have found … several things that you’re good at, or you wouldn’t be here today,” he said. “I hope that you’ve also discovered a love for at least one of those things and that you will be able to shape your future endeavors around that love.” Epstein concluded the ceremony by explaining “imposter syndrome,” a term used to describe “a feeling in which someone doubts their own accomplishments and suffers from the persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud,” he said. “My advice,” he said, “is get over it. … You’ve earned your place here.” —Gilda Geist
NOAH ZEITLIN/the Justice
PERRY TRAQUINA ’78
As the author of several short stories and novels, Liu has vast experience in the field of literature, earning him a Doctor of Arts honorary degree. Focusing on the fantasy genre, he has also written seven novels and won China’s most prestigious award for literature and science-fiction, the Galaxy Award. Liu was also the first Asian person to win the Hugo Award, which he won for his work titled, “The Three-Body Problem.”
Traquina is the recipient of the honorary degree for Doctor of Humane Letters. The son of Portuguese immigrants, Traquina majored in American Studies and Economics while at Brandeis. He went on to become a member of the Board of Trustees since 2002, and has served as the Board chair between 2013 and 2016. He is now the chair of the Board’s Investment Committee and a member of the Resources Committee. Traquina was also the chairman and CEO of Wellington Management Company until 2014. He spent 34 years at the firm.
BARBARA MANDEL ’73 Mandel received a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree. Elected to the Brandeis Board of Trustees in 2005, Mandel currently serves as the vice chair of the Board. In addition, she serves as a co-chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee and is part of the Nominating and Governance and Coordination committees. Mandel has a history of donating to the University, and the Mandel Center’s auditorium is named in her honor.
SUSAN WINDHAM-BANNISTER PHD ’77
Windham-Bannister was honored with the Doctor of Humane Letters. She leads a $1 billion life sciencesfocused innovation fund, making her the first African American to administer such a large fund. Her contributions to the fund led to Massachusetts’ recognition as a global leader in the life sciences. Additionally, Windham-Bannister was a managing partner at Abt Bio-Pharma Solutions and was recognized by the Boston Globe as one of the 10 Most Influential Women in Biotech and by Boston Magazine as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Boston, according to the Brandeis website.
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