Phi Beta Kappa Chapter News

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar

The Alpha of Iowa Chapter of Iowa Beta Kappa was pleased to host Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Professor Linda Gregerson on October 10-11, 2019. She is is the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. Professor Gregerson gave a poetry reading, attended classes, met with students, and held a public lecture titled, "Can We Talk to One Another? Poetry in an Era of Social Division". The Alpha of Iowa chapter thanks the Department of English, the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and The Phi Beta Kappa Society for co-sponsoring her visit.

PBK Visiting Scholar Professor Linda Gregerson Public Lecture

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 Writing Internships with The Key Reporter. Deadlines: Friday, November 8, 2019, or Friday, June 5, 2020. Undergraduate Phi Beta Kappa members do not need to leave Iowa City for this paid internship! Please send a cover letter addressing the qualifications for the internship, resume with list of references, and three writing samples (500-700 words each) to, see for more information.

Stevens Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship. Deadline Friday, February 7, 2020. The Stevens Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship is awarded each year to a junior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences majoring in natural science with at least two semesters of work remaining (minimum 75 semester hours earned by the close of the spring 2020 semester). More information may be found at

Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony, Sunday April 19, 2020, at 1:30 pm., Second Floor Ballroom, 243 IMU. Family, friends, and mentors are invited to help celebrate the induction of new members into our distinguished society. Our guest speaker will be Professor Teresa Mangum, Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, and Director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. A reception will immediately follow.

Spring 2019 Induction Ceremony
Sunday, April 14, 2019 - 1:30 pm, Second Floor Ballroom, Iowa Memorial Union

Alpha of Iowa chapter of Phi Beta Kappa inducted 127 students who accepted membership fall 2018 and spring 2019. Downing Thomas, Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs and Professor in the Department of French and Italian, gave the keynote address:  "Global Education in the Midwest." A reception followed the ceremony.

Phi Beta Kappa Spring 2019 Inductees
Phi Beta Kappa Spring 2019 Inductees

2019 Love of Learning Poetry Prize

Alpha of Iowa chapter awards its Love of Learning Poetry Prize to the poem that best reflects upon Phi Beta Kappa's motto, "The Love of Learning is the Guide of Life."  We are pleased to award this year's prize to Margaret Preigh, reproduced below. The Alpha of Iowa chapter thanks past president Julie Claus for donation of the $100 prize.

The Conception of a Poem

The world in word, a mirrored soul,
The warbler sings her song:
Silence refused to exactitudes
while dreams find their life.

A rift is healed through soft reflection,
their cries are finally heard.
For a moment, something clicks:
a fleeting thought to a sermon.

Scrutiny: dramatized.
Arguments: quite baroque.
A startling phrase is uttered softly
and something new is quick provoked.

In sound and weight and heart and tongue
the work begins anew.
Dilated movement and attention
find passion introduced.

Through a lens, the work takes form
like the wind of a gathered breath,
the tension builds with quick corruption
of the writer’s provisional plan.

At it’s peak, the strangeness crashing,
the speaker fails to speak.
For all is still, surrendered to action
and interpreted critique.

The bustle slows, the breath exhaled,
and all is well once more.
Both worlds now othered, gently changed,
an edgeless portmanteau.

The author tweaks her twists and turns,
The editor could scrap it all,
but through careful parturition
the message might live on.

For in the bleakest ticks of time
when everything seems lost,
in writing I will find my nest,
it is through phrases we express.


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