UT Dallas Earns Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Chapter

Academic Organization Aids Quest to Become a National Research University

Mar. 29, 2011

Phi Kappa Phi has approved a chapter at The University of Texas at Dallas, bringing a highly selective academic honor society to campus and meeting a criterion for state funding vital to the growth of research at the University.

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Organization Brings Scholarship Opportunities

Phi Kappa Phi

The Phi Kappa Phi logo consists of
a globe against the background of the sun, whose rays signify the dissemination of truth as light. Encircling the globe
is a band containing the Greek letters (Phi Kappa Phi) that symbolizes a fraternal bond that surrounds the Earth and binds the lovers of wisdom in a common pupose.

Phi Kappa Phi will bring together faculty, select upperclassmen, graduate students, alumni and members of the community in an interdisciplinary environment dedicated to the advancement of learning and service to others. Signing of the chapter charter and induction of founding members is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19.

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Its chapters are on more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Each year, approximately 30,000 members are initiated. Since its founding, Phi Kappa Phi has initiated more than 1 million members into its ranks.

Granting of Chapter Brings UT Dallas Closer to State Research Funds

By forming a Phi Kappa Phi chapter, UT Dallas has made strides in its effort to become a nationally recognized Tier One research university.  Access to interest earned from the state’s $600 million National Research University Fund, a voter-approved endowment, is contingent in part on institutional membership in Phi Kappa Phi or a similar academic honors group.

Dr. Hobson Wildenthal

Dr. Hobson Wildenthal

“Phi Kappa Phi seeks evidence of high-quality academics and student services, as well as an environment supportive of research,” Executive Vice President and Provost Hobson Wildenthal said. “The granting of the UT Dallas chapter is further affirmation of our excellence.”

Months of Preparation Lead to Chapter Launch

Securing the chapter was an extensive process that involved providing a detailed introduction to the University, then culminated in a three-day campus visit by Phi Kappa Phi officials after Thanksgiving to speak with students, deans and other University administrators.

“My impression of UT Dallas could be summed up in one word:  quality. The quality of the petitioning group, the faculty and the students was most impressive. Along with the other campus visitors, I was most favorably impressed with the level of interest of the president and provost and the deans.”

Dr. Perry Snyder,
Phi Kappa Phi executive director

“My impression of UT Dallas could be summed up in one word:  quality,” said Dr. Perry Snyder, Phi Kappa Phi’s executive director. “The quality of the petitioning group, the faculty and the students was most impressive. Along with the other campus visitors, I was most favorably impressed with the level of interest of the president and provost and the deans.”

In mid-January, the University received an answer to its proposal: UT Dallas would be granted a Phi Kappa Phi chapter. George Mason University and Marshall University were the only other institutions granted chapters at the same time.

“Phi Kappa Phi is a good match for UT Dallas because it allows us to bring our areas of academic strength to light,” said Associate Provost Abby Kratz, who coordinated the petitioning process on behalf of the University. “The offer of chapter membership allows us to recognize excellence in our students – their intellect, their dedication and their ability to perform every day.”

Wildenthal thanked Kratz for helping make the new UT Dallas chapter a reality.

Abby Kratz

Dr. Abby Kratz

 “We’re gratified by the founding of a Phi Kappa Phi chapter at UT Dallas,” he said. “Its establishment reinforces the vision our founders had more than four decades ago to create a research institution that would generate a highly educated workforce for Texas and beyond. The chapter offers another setting for dedicated students to enrich their educations.”

Chapter leadership has been elected from the University faculty and administration that comprise the group’s charter membership. Dr. Denise Paquette Boots, an associate professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, was named the first president.

“It is an incredible honor to be elected by colleagues I respect and admire and be asked to serve as the first president of our chapter,” Boots said. “Phi Kappa Phi is different from other honor societies in that it relies upon faculty to run its local chapters. Although there is a lot of work to be done, I have an incredible team of officers and charter members who share my dedication. With the enthusiastic support of President Daniel and Provost Wildenthal, I am confident that Phi Kappa Phi will have a respected presence on our campus.”

Dr. Edward J. Harpham, associate provost and director of the Collegium V honors program at UT Dallas and professor of political science in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, serves as the first secretary and treasurer. The chapter’s first public relations officer is Andrea Stigdon, administrative services officer with the Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis.

For more information about the UT Dallas Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, contact the Collegium V office at 972-883-4297.


Media Contact: Karah Womack, UT Dallas, (972) 883-5890, karah.hosek@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Denise BootsDr. Denise Paquette Boots, an associate professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, was named the first president.

University's Phi Kappa Phi Chapter
to be Installed in April 19 Ceremony

First Students to be Welcomed in Fall

Phi Kappa Phi at UT Dallas will induct its first new faculty members and sign its charter documents at an installation ceremony beginning at 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 19, in the McDermott Suite of the McDermott Library.

Membership to the Society is by invitation. Faculty and administrators with outstanding records of teaching and research will be inducted during the spring ceremony. Eligible undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a limited number of alumni, will be invited into the membership during the fall semester. The University will also invite community members and UT Dallas alumni affiliated with other chapters to associate with the UT Dallas chapter in the near future.

“Over the next year, we expect our chapter to have measured growth that adheres to strict national guidelines as exceptional students, staff and faculty join our ranks,” said Dr. Denise Paquette Boots, associate professor of criminology and the first president of the UT Dallas chapter. “We aspire to showcase the tremendous benefits of Phi Kappa Phi membership and to firmly establish a community of scholars.

“We will seek out opportunities to sponsor research-related activities, speakers, lecture series and to support student scholarship in the years to come.”

For more information about the UT Dallas Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, contact the Collegium V office at 972-883-4297.

The charter members of the UT Dallas Phi Kappa Phi chapter are:

  • Dr. Andrew J. Blanchard, vice provost and professor of electrical engineering, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
  • Dr. Denise Paquette Boots, associate professor of criminology, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
  • Dr. Timothy M. Bray, clinical assistant professor of criminology, director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
  • Dr. Austin J. Cunningham, dean of graduate studies and professor of physics.
  • Dr. Douglas C. Dow, clinical associate professor of political science, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and associate director, Office of Distinguished Scholarships.
  • Dr. J. Michael Farmer, associate professor of history, School of Arts and Humanities.
  • Dr. Edward J. Harpham, associate provost, director of Collegium V University honors program and professor of political science, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
  • Dr. Susan W. Jerger, Ashbel Smith Professor, director of undergraduate honors program, director of Children’s Speech Processing Lab, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
  • Dr. Robert L. Kieschnick, Jr., associate professor of finance and managerial economics; coordinator, finance and managerial economics area, School of Management.
  • Dr. Abby R. Kratz, associate provost, Office of the Provost.
  • Dr. Patricia A. Leek, lecturer of literature, School of Arts and Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies Teacher Development Center.
  • Rafael O. Martín, associate vice president for research, Office of Research.
  • Dr. Denise C. Park, Distinguished Chair and Regents’ Research Scholar Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience/Psychology, director of the Center for Vital Longevity, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
  • Dr. Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, dean of undergraduate education, professor of economics and political economy, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
  • Dr. Karen J. Prager, professor of psychology and program head for gender studies, Schools of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies.
  • Dr. Suresh P. Sethi, Charles and Nancy Davidson Distinguished Professor in Operations Management, director of the Center for Intelligent Supply Networks, School of Management.
  • Dr. A. Dean Sherry, Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology Science and professor of chemistry, School of Natural Science and Mathematics; director of the Advanced Imaging Research Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center.
  • Andrea Stigdon, administrative services officer, Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis.
  • Dr. Linda K. Thibodeau, professor of speech-language pathology and audiology, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
  • Dr. Mary Jo Venetis, associate library director for technical services, McDermott Library.
  • Dr. B. Hobson Wildenthal, executive vice president and provost, Cecil H. Green Distinguished Chair of Academic Leadership and professor of physics.
  • Dr. John J. Wiorkowski, vice provost, professor of statistics, School of Management.

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