Fifteen CSI graduates were recently honored at the 12th Annual Phi Beta Kappa Associates Book Awards.

Fifteen CSI graduates were recently honored at the 12th annual Phi Beta Kappa Associates Book Awards, which were held in the Center for the Arts Recital Hall.  

Professor Tim Gray of the English Department delivered the annual Phi Beta Kappa address, entitled, “Blasted Categories,” in honor “of the writers, artists, and musicians whose detonation of boundaries inspires my research and writing,” in which he discussed the idea of academic bravery to those in attendance. “Independent thinking and intellectual courage must be your guiding principles,” Gray told the audience. 

The Book Awards are held to honor those students who show evidence of excellence in liberal arts at CSI. The requirements for induction include a minimum GPA of 3.8 and evidence of outstanding work across the liberal arts fields at CSI. 

“The honorees show that liberal arts coursework motivates students to be good citizens and prepares them for fulfilling, constructive careers,” said Mary Jeanette Moran, President of the CSI Phi Beta Kappa Associates, and Assistant Professor of English.

Although this was the 12th annual awarda ceremony, it is important to note that CSI is not currently a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society—one of the oldest in the U.S.—but through the efforts of Professor Gray and others, a book award ceremony was started to honor those students who would have been inducted into the society if there were a chapter at CSI. 

The fact that CSI faculty and staff dedicate their time and energy every year to honor our liberal arts students goes to show the value that the CSI community puts on its students and their accomplishments.

“It is an honor for me to be involved,” said Moran. “Interacting with excellent students from a wide variety of disciplines has been a very rewarding experience. Our honorees come from the general population of students as well as the Macaulay Honors College and The Verrazano School, reminding me each year of the talented and hardworking students in all of our programs.”

The book awards are so named due to the fact that one of the major awards presented to the students is a book chosen by the keynote speaker, as well as a Barnes & Noble gift certificate, both of which were generously donated by the CSI faculty and staff.  This year’s book was Urban Pastoral by Professor Gray, which, according to the University of Iowa Press Website, “shows us that startlingly new approaches to New York City art and literature emerge when natural and artificial elements collide kaleidoscopically.”

With current CSI Provost and soon-to-be Interim College President Dr. William Fritz’s support, the PBK Associates hope to begin the membership process for the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society in the fall, so that future ceremonies can be fully endorsed by the Honors Society.

2012 Award Winners include:

 Mark Barahman (Biochemistry/Macaulay Honors College)
Victoria Cooper (English Literature/Spanish/Macaulay Honors College)
Kimberly Cruz (Chemistry/Sociology/Anthropology/Macaulay Honors College)
Elizabeth Davis (English Writing)
Daniel Feldman (Physics/Macaulay Honors College)
Julia Hayes (Philosophy/Political Science)
Irvin Ibarguen (History)
Brian Iskra (Biochemistry/Macaulay Honors College)
Leana Leon (Psychology/Sociology/Anthropology)
Ann Mackey (Psychology)
Jennifer Olonko (English/History)
Sylvana Salama (Mathematics/Macaulay Honors College)
Samantha Scicchigno (Psychology/Macaulay Honors College )
Brian Siegel (English Writing/Psychology)
Lev Treybich (English Literature/Linguistics)