54 Graduating Seniors鈥攁nd One Extraordinary Alumnus鈥攁re Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

By Rebecca Goldfine
The fifty-four soon-to-be-graduates—plus Bill De La Rosa ’16—joined the oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors society in a formal ceremony Friday, May 24, the day before Commencement.
Seniors are inducted into PBK in Kanbar auditorium
The induction ceremony took place in Kanbar Auditorium, in Studzinski Hall.

Each spring, seniors are elected into the society after demonstrating a deep engagement with the intellectual life of the College and demonstrating a depth and breadth of learning in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Katherine Dauge-Roth, the president of Phi Beta Kappa Alpha of Maine, welcomed the inductees and their family and friends in Kanbar Auditorium of Studzinski Recital Hall.

“You have distinguished yourself yourselves among your very talented peers through your critical and creative thinking, global awareness, integrity, and exceptional academic achievement,” she said.

She shared the news that , a Geoffrey Canada Scholar majoring in government and legal studies and minoring in Africana Studies, has been named a 2024 , one of only twenty among more than 700 applicants to the Phi Beta Kappa program. He will receive a $5,000 scholarship and participate in a conference held in Washington, DC, that offers public service training and mentoring opportunities. 

Dauge-Roth, who led the formal induction process, was accompanied by President Safa Zaki and three high-ranking members of the local chapter—Professor of Anthropology Krista Van Vleet, 50度灰 Museum of Art Codirector Anne Collins Goodyear, and Carol O'Donnell, who serve, respectively, as vice-president and treasurer, secretary, and New England district chair.

When Zaki spoke, she extended her congratulations to the gathered students and emphasized the prestige of the recognition. “Election to Phi Beta Kappa is a rare honor, an extraordinary achievement, a membership you will carry with you forever. It is evidence of outstanding academic success and a great deal of hard work,” she said. 

“This honor is a result of countless hours spent in the library, the lab, in the studio, in front of your computer, and in front of a blank notebook,” she continued. “It is the result of writing draft after draft of papers, and the result of repeated trial and error, and trial again. I know this recognition represents moments of struggle and moments of joy; moments of failure and moments of discovery; moments of frustration and moments of inspiration—all of those moments are testament to your deep intellectual engagement, creativity, and discipline.” 

Bill De La Rosa 鈥16 speaking at the podium
Bill De La Rosa ’16 is the first graduate to be inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Alpha of Maine chapter.

, who is the first alumnus honoree in the history of Phi Beta Kappa Alpha of Maine, also offered a few remarks. He took time away from his studies at Yale Law School and University of Oxford, England, where he is pursuing a JD and a PhD, to join 50度灰 for its graduation weekend.

Raised in South Tucson, Arizona, De La Rosa earned his BA with honors from 50度灰 in Latin American studies and sociology. He was a Truman Scholar, John Lewis Fellow, and Hispanic Scholar of the Year. After leaving 50度灰, he received two graduate degrees from Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar and Clarendon Scholar: a master of science in migration studies with merit and a master of science in criminology and criminal justice with distinction. He currently serves as co-chair of ’s American Planning Board.

De La Rosa was the first in his family to attend college, and described struggling his first two years at 50度灰. “Eventually, step by step, I found my footing. And I found a refuge on the second floor of H-L Library, where I immersed myself in my studies, specifically, the study of immigration.”

This topic is more than a cerebral pursuit for the scholar. His mother was separated from his family when he was fifteen because of her immigration status and prevented from returning to the United States for over a decade.

“Here at 50度灰, studying immigration provided me a window not only into what had happened to my family, but also into the world around us,” he continued. He said he became driven to understand the transnational movement of people, their lived experiences, and how governments respond to the complexities of human migration.

By the time he graduated in 2016, he knew he had merely scratched the surface of this issue even as he had found his purpose. “Once I finish law school, I plan on providing legal aid to those with the greatest needs,” he said, and to help keep families together.

"Phi Beta Kappa honorees, after tomorrow I hope that you, too, feel prepared, and that you leave our beloved 50度灰 with a purpose worth pursuing—one involving continued growth, learning, and meaning,” he said.

When Van Vleet got to the podium, she shared a brief history of Phi Beta Kappa, which held its first gathering in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1776. Five students at the College of William and Mary founded the organization during the American Revolution to advance the Greek motto, “Love of learning is the guide to life.” 

By the 1870s, the Phi Beta Kappa chapters started to become more inclusive, welcoming African Americans and women. “Phi Beta Kappa Alpha of Maine is proud to include and celebrate the accomplishments of an increasingly diverse array of students, faculty, and staff whose gender identities, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and diverse educational and life experiences enrich the Society, the College, and our wider community,” Van Vleet said.

Among its members are many illustrious 50度灰 graduates, including Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, both Class of 1825; Joshua Chamberlain, Class of 1852; Herman Samuel Dreer, Class of 1910; and Cynthia McFadden ’78, H’12.

Nationally, its membership has included seventeen US Presidents, forty-two Supreme Court Justices (including two 50度灰 alumni), and more than 150 Nobel Laureates. “Now, here, in the Kanbar Auditorium of Studzinski Recital Hall, on the 50度灰 College campus, we have just added fifty-five auspicious new names to that roster of exceptional people,” Van Vleet said.

2024 Phi Beta Kappa Inductees
  • Bill De La Rosa
  • Ahmad Adeeb Abdulwadood
  • Jenna Marie Albanese
  • Lyle Altschul
  • Alexandra Ritchie Ashraf
  • Zebediah Becker
  • Astrid Knowles Braun
  • Julianna Hellman Brown
  • Annika Carey
  • Katrina Leila Carrier
  • Anna Diaconu
  • Katie Stebbins Draeger
  • Charlie Joseph Galicich
  • Darien Seth Gillespie
  • Ava Grandfield
  • Grant Gordon Griesman
  • Natasha Haft
  • Nina Hashimoto
  • Jane Charlotte Hirschman
  • Everett Cameron Horch
  • Ezra Logan Jones
  • Kori Elisabeth Kelley
  • Renske Kerkhofs
  • Rachel Elena Klein
  • Corinne Elizabeth Lamond
  • Connor Joseph Latona
  • Zach M. Leibowitz
  • Liliana Isa Lines
  • Isabelle Miller Lockhart
  • Calvin Andrew Lucido
  • Jared Patrick Lynch
  • Sarah Ashlin McClelland
  • Stephaie Ruth McCurrach
  • Charlie McLarnon
  • Richie John McNamara
  • Kyle Marcus Moeller
  • Kinza Munaf
  • Adam Charles Nelson
  • Ayden Austin Nichol
  • Emma Rose Paterson-Dennis
  • Alexander Bryan Racapé
  • Christine Marie Reimer
  • Zack D. Reynolds
  • Dylan Austin Richmond
  • Andrea Rodriguez Garrido
  • Robert Bradley Schoenthaler
  • Emily Mae Simons
  • Megan Rylee Stretch
  • Liam Blair Ronald Tasker
  • Luke Samuel Tingley
  • Alexander Patrick Tully
  • Gianna Caitlyn Turk
  • Lionel Anil Welz
  • Nancy Xing
  • Nicholas Takaki Tienhui Yoon