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Honor society for international scholars conducts annual elections for officers, new membership

September 15, 2010

NIU’s own Zeta Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Delta, the honor society for international scholars, is conducting elections to membership in the society, as well as for officers. 

international honor society

Kurt Thurmaier, director of NIU’s Division of Public Administration, is the current president of Zeta Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Delta.

Phi Beta Delta is the first honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education.

As an intergenerational organization, the society recognizes and honors three categories of members: distinguished faculty, staff and visiting scholars involved in international endeavors such as teaching, leading exchange programs, conducting research, or providing services to international students and scholars; nonimmigrant students who have demonstrated high scholastic achievement at their U.S. institutions; and domestic students who have demonstrated high scholastic achievement in the pursuit of academic studies abroad.

NIU has a long and proud history of involvement in all aspects of international education, from the early creation of the Division of International Programs and Studies, through the pioneering establishment of the Foreign Language Residence Program, to the recognition of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies as a Title VI National Resource Center.

These activities and commitments, plus many others, made NIU an ideal institution for a Chapter of Phi Beta Delta.

On Nov. 18, 2004, the Founding Induction Ceremony was held to induct 80 charter members into Zeta Gamma Chapter. Because of the strong record of continuing support for the Chapter at NIU, Zeta Gamma was honored as the 2008 and 2009 Outstanding Midwest Regional Chapter.

And, in 2009, professor Susan D. Russell of NIU’s Department of Anthropology received the international society’s Faculty Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Education

“The powerful attraction of Phi Beta Delta across the NIU campus is that it draws together the faculty, staff, and students who are actively engaged in international scholarship,” said Kurt Thurmaier, current chapter president and director of the public administration program at NIU. “Better still, these faculty and students are from the U.S. and countries throughout the world, and the conversations at our events are so rewarding.”

Professor Christopher Jones, incoming chapter president and chair of the Department of Political Science, said, “I think the campus community is going to discover that Phi Beta Delta is vibrant organization here at NIU and a superb vehicle for advancing globally focused scholarship, teaching and service across our faculty and student body.”

The Zeta Gamma Chapter at NIU conducts its annual induction ceremony during International Education Week in November each year.  This year’s induction will take place at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 18, in the Holmes Student Center Sky Room.

At each induction, one or two honorary members are chosen for lifetime membership in the society. Honorary members need not be employees of NIU, but can be community members who have worked with NIU to support the goals of Phi Beta Delta on the NIU campus.

Notable recipients of this distinguished honor at NIU are: President John Peters; State Rep. Robert Pritchard; Megan Spillman of the Institute for International Education; Amy Crook of DeKalb Community Unit School District 428; Sue Orem, formerly of District 428; Sally Stevens; Ladd Thomas; and Dena Funkhouser.

This is an exciting period of growth for NIU’s Zeta Gamma Chapter. The chapter is raising funds in a calendar project to support international projects at NIU, co-hosting with President Peters a reception for international scholars, and growing its membership. 

For more information about Phi Beta Delta and the Zeta Gamma Chapter at NIU, contact Deborah Pierce, chapter coordinator, at [email protected], or Pamela Rosenberg, treasurer, at [email protected].