Excellence Now, Excellence Forever

It’s time to Break It Down!

So, Monday, I had the kind of opportunity that makes parents proud. So much so, that I am taking a point of personal privilege and writing about it. The it in this case being my family…a topic I explore, every once in a blue moon.

My wife and I ventured a couple of states south to the Peach State, where our daughter is projected to wrap up her graduate studies in atmospheric sciences this summer. Shelby, long an academic superstar, graduated as salutatorian of her high school senior class, mastering the rigorous International Baccalaureate curriculum along the way, graduated with honors from college, and Monday, as a graduate student, she was inducted into the prestigious Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

The society’s motto is Φιλοσοφία Kρατείτω Φωτῶν (Philosophía Krateítõ Phõtôn), which is translated as “Let the love of learning rule humanity”, and its mission is “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Kappa Phi is a member of the Honor Society Caucus, which is composed of four honor societies: Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Day tripping down to Athens for the quick visit of the University of Georgia’s campus was a pleasant getaway. We had visited the town to help set up Shelby’s first apartment, but neither of us had spent any time exploring the campus. Admittedly, it was a quick trip, but purpose-driven visit, so our exposure to the campus footprint was limited. But we liked what we saw.

Much more important than campus aesthetics is the reason for our jaunt, seeing our daughter get recognized for successfully navigating the rigors of a challenging course of study at a major American University. It was comforting to note that among her peers, professors, and advisors, Shelby appeared in her element. Her advisor was especially laudatory as he extolled her serious studentship. I think her mom was particularly comforted by the external confirmation that she had done a great job in igniting Shelby’s passion for learning.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society. The organization’s mission is to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others,

The Badge of the Society is a globe against the background of the sun, whose rays form an expansive corona and radiate in a number of symmetrical equal concentrations from behind the globe. These signify equivalence among the various branches of learning and represent dissemination of truth as light. Encircling the globe is a band containing the Greek letters ΦΚΦ and symbolizing a fraternal bond which girds the earth and the lovers of wisdom in a common purpose.

The Seal of the Society has at its center the Badge. This is in turn surrounded by a crenelated line which represents the battlements and walls of Troy and which symbolizes a technological aspect of the ancient Greek culture reflected by the Society. In the space between this line and the periphery of the Seal appear three stars just above the Badge, one for each of the three original chapters. Just below the Badge is the phrase “Founded 1897.”

The Ribbon of the Society is a meander pattern which is common in ancient Greek art and thus symbolizes the classical features of the society.

Phi Kappa Phi’s motto, as noted above is, “Let the love of learning rule humanity;” its mission, “to recognize and promote excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service of others.” Congratulations Shelby…“Excellence Now, Excellence Forever!”

I’m done; holla back!

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