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                        Association Chartered June 14, 1946     

                               December 2021

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From the President

As you continue to shelter in place or venture out carefully, thanks to Covid-19, we on the PBKNCA Board hope you are keeping mentally active, if not as physically active as you might like. Many thanks for being a member of our Northern California Association.

Our Vice-President, Programs. O’Neil Dillon is excited to announce that we are now resuming events in person (for fully vaccinated, masked members and guests), and have just enjoyed the Museum of International Propaganda. Also, Asilomar Chair, Deirdre Frontczak, has announced the return of the Asilomar Conference in Pacific Grove over Presidents’ weekend (see below).

Speaking of Asilomar, we are delighted to announce that Deirdre was able to transfer our down payment for 2021, so the Association isn’t out any money for cancelling last year’s event. Deirdre ( would be delighted to hear from you with suggestions for speakers for 2023.

In May, which seems a long time from now, we’ll confer scholarships on worthy graduate students from our association’s campus chapters. The hard work of Second Vice President–Scholarships, Joanne Sandstrom, and her committee (and your monetary contributions) makes this possible. My thanks to all members who have given generously to our scholarship program during the past year and before. Please keep it up! We didn’t hold our Annual Meeting this past May due to the virus, but at this point, we plan to hold our Annual Meeting in person and award scholarships (perhaps with a Zoom connection for those who can’t make it in person), so stay tuned for further information.

We encourage nominations for our Teaching Excellence awards for faculty members at the universities in our Association area that have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. If you were motivated, impressed, or enthralled by a teacher at any of those schools, please nominate them for a Teaching Excellence Award, using the form available at Teaching Excellence Chair Melissa Stevens awaits your input.

Our Young Professionals group of Phi Betes under 40 is now headed by Alex Casendino and just had a very successful event in San Francisco. To be on the mailing list, contact Alex at More events are planned.

Wishing you a peaceful autumn and happy holidays, Mary Turner Gilliland, President 2011-22

Twelve Scholars and Four Teachers Honored. May, 2021

Awardees have made Videos of their “Annual Meeting Talks”

Scholarship Awards 2021


n fulfillment of its mission to encourage scholarship and research, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association has honored the following outstanding Phi Beta Kappa graduate students with $7,500 scholarship awards to assist them in completing their educational objectives: 

Jerika Barron, UCSF, Biomedical Sciences (Norall award)

Gil Breger, UC Berkeley, Near Eastern Studies

Tal (Tali) Caspi, UC Davis,


Lewis Esposito, Stanford, Linguistics

(Gilliland award)

Iris Holzer, UC Davis, Soils and Biogeochemistry

Jonathan Lear, UC Berkeley,


Claire Magnani, UC Berkeley, Chemistry

(Hendess award)

Julia Melin, Stanford, Sociology

Joseph Passman, UC Berkeley,


(Hardardt Award)

Ashley Perez, UC San Francisco, Sociology

Kathryn Pribble, UC Berkeley, Slavic Languages and Literature

Nina Venuti, UC Davis, Ecology (Reed award)

Scholarship Committee: Jeff Fenton, Lynne Fovinci, Judith Hardardt, Jean James, Joanne Sandstrom (Chair) 

Teaching Excellence Awards 2021


eenly aware of the great worth of learning and of the extraordinary gifts, diligence, and amplitude of spirit that mark the best in teaching, the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association takes pleasure in conferring its 2021 Teaching Excellence Awards upon these distinguished teachers:

David Cohen, Ph.D., Dept. of Classics, Director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford University

Paul Graham Fisher M.D., Dept. of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Chief of the Division of Child Neurology, Stanford University

Courtney Lehmann, Ph.D., Dept. of English, Director of the Powell Scholars Program, University of the Pacific (Hasenkamp award)

William Swagerty, Ph.D., Dept. of History, Director of the John Muir Center, University of the Pacific

Teaching Excellence Committee: Melisa Lasell, Andrea Braga, Melissa Stevens (Chair)

Nominations for the Teaching Excellence Award for Spring 2022 are being accepted now

Is your professor worthy of recognition? Each year the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association gives awards for teaching excellence. We intend to give five awards for 2021, but we still need more nominations, and the deadline is December 15th!

The professor you nominate will have an excellent chance of receiving an award, so it is worth your time to fill out a nomination form, available here.

We believe that excellence in teaching should be rewarded because there is at least one great teacher behind every great scholar. Please nominate one or more of your favorite professors whose efforts deserve recognition.

Your professor needn't be a Phi Beta Kappa member, but they must teach at one of the following Northern California institutions with PBK chapters:

Mills College, San Francisco State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of the Pacific.

We look forward to hearing about your professor!

Melissa Stevens
Chair, Teaching Excellence Committee

Please see for more information.

Upcoming Events

The Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for attendance at any and all events.  Full vaccination is defined as completion of the two-dose regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered two weeks or more in advance of the event.

A face covering is required for entry at events and must be worn at all times. Face masks must completely cover the nose and mouth and have ear loops or similar to hold in place.  Neck gaiters and bandanas are not acceptable. Attendee-Safety

Tour the historic Delta town of Locke and winery visit - January 15, 2022, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Online reservations: or coupon below