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Phi Beta Kappa Initiates New Members During 2023 Convocation The Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Washington and Lee University welcomed 49 students into the prestigious honor society.

The Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Washington and Lee University welcomed 49 members of the junior and senior classes into the prestigious honor society at the Phi Beta Kappa/Society of the Cincinnati Convocation on March 31. The honorees were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa based on their exceptional academic achievements.

Kyle Friend, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and Phi Beta Kappa President, Elliott King, associate professor of art history and Phi Beta Kappa Secretary/Treasurer, and Matthew Loar, director of fellowships and Phi Beta Kappa Vice President, opened the convocation by welcoming the newest members and providing an overview of the national history of Phi Beta Kappa as well as the history of the local chapter.

Two-time Paralympian Matthew Simpson ’12 delivered the convocation address. Simpson represented the United States on the national goalball team at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan. Goalball is a sport developed for blind and visually impaired athletes like Simpson, who has a congenital disease of the retina that leaves him unable to see anything but shadows. Prior to the 2016 Paralympics, Simpson worked for the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he promoted and advanced the cause of sports for people with visual impairments.

In his address, Simpson shared how his experiences at W&L informed his desire to create “elegy virtues,” or the types of personal characteristics that can make a lasting, positive impact on those around us. At W&L, Simpson was a political science major and a member of the Student Judicial Council, as well as one of the university’s first Johnson Scholars.

This year’s student initiates to Phi Beta Kappa are:

Class of 2023
• Tyler Bernard
• Lauren Ellenz
• Gabrielle Emge
• Cara Flanery
• Camilla Gowen
• Sarah Hayne
• Ben Hess
• Abhinav Janamanchi
• Claire Jenkins
• Quy Le
• Grace MacDonald
• Sharon Mendieta Ramirez
• Dan Nguyen
• Jensen Rocha
• Natalie Spangler
• Allie Stankewich
• Max Thomas
• Campbell White
• Jessy Xu

Class of 2024
• Olivia Bernston
• Kaitlyn Chalker
• Watson Deacon
• Megan Dufault
• Sara Kate Durkee
• Jenni Ealer
• Josh Fingerhut
• Oskar Freiherr von Mandelsloh
• Cole Gershkovich
• Natalie Gresham
• Duncan Hart
• David Honig
• Jacob Jackson
• Jordan Jontz
• Kaylin Jury
• Perry Kramer
• John Lee
• Georgia McSwain
• Elise Molinaro
• Zach Moore
• Shauna Mucakle
• Aislinn Niimi
• Peyton Pack
• Amy Qian
• Kamron Spivey
• Langley Steuart
• Ginny Taylor
• Tyler Waldman
• Ashley Xia
• Katie Yurechko

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. Its motto is “Love of learning is the guide of life.” The Gamma of Virginia Chapter was chartered at W&L in 1911.

If you know a W&L student who has done great, accolade-worthy things, tell us about them! Nominate them for an accolade.