Lecture Sponsors Make Honors Institute Possible

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More than 500 Phi Theta Kappa members, advisors and alumni gathered June 16-21 at Washington University in St. Louis for the Society’s 2014 Honors Institute. Called the “crown jewel of Phi Theta Kappa programming,” the week-long exploration of the Society’s Honors Study Topic includes internationally recognized speakers, small group seminars, educational field trips and experiential activities.

Speaker Patrick Lee (as Captain William Clark) signs a copy of his book for Dr. John Modschiedler, the sponsor of his Honors Institute lecture.

Dr. Joan Fedor visits with speaker Ken Ramirez, whose lecture she sponsored.

What many of those 500 attendees may not know is that their experience was made possible by a group of former advisors, regional coordinators, alumni and friends who did an extraordinary thing. Passionate about opportunities for Phi Theta Kappa members, they had the vision and commitment to sponsor lectures for the Honors Institute with financial gifts to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation.

“The Phi Theta Kappa Foundation is grateful for the sponsors of the Honors Institute lecture series, who made this outstanding program possible for the 2014 Honors Institute,” said Dr. Nancy Rieves, CEO of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. “We encourage those who’ve benefited from their generosity to say thank you to our lecture sponsors for making Honors Institute the high-quality program that it is.”

Participants may send messages of thanks to foundation@ptk.org and they will be shared with sponsors.

Michael Ecton, a member of the Pi Theta Chapter at Hagerstown Community College who serves as Maryland State President for the Middle States Region, said he’s grateful to those who created the Honors Institute, endowed lectures and developed the Honors Study Topic.

“The Honors Institute is greatly enriched thanks to the generosity of its sponsors,” Ecton said. “This experience has allowed me the opportunity not only to develop my own leadership skills in service to Phi Theta Kappa's future, but to also reflect on the leadership that was required in the past to get us all to this point.”

"We think it was cool that some of the lecture sponsors actually attended our general sessions,” said Lisette Dalton, Kentucky Regional President of Honors in Action. “It showed us how much value they placed in our general session speakers.” 

“Knowing that the amazing speakers we have heard come at a high cost, the lecture sponsors allow the registration to be obtainable for students to attend Honors Institute,” said Shawna Gaccetta, a member of the Beta Delta Omicron Chapter at Tarrant County College and President of the Texas Region. “These sponsors allow Phi Theta Kappa's legacy of excellence to continue.”

The following individuals sponsored lectures at the 2014 Honors Institute:

First General Session
Dr. John Modschiedler, long-time advisor at College of DuPage in Illinois, sponsor of:
The Modschiedler Lecture
Captain William Clark
“Frontiers and the Exploration of the West”

Second General Session
Dr. Janice Freeman and Dr. Joyce Freeman, alumni and long-time advisors at Wharton County Junior College in Texas, sponsors of:
The Freeman Lecture
Dr. Nina Tandon
“Frontiers of Health and Medicine: Where Sci-Fi Meets Reality”

Third General Session
Leanne Jardine, alumna and former New York Regional Coordinator, and Richard Jardine, sponsors of:
The Jardine Lecture
Dr. Ray Arvidson
“Celestial Frontiers: Lessons from the Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory”

Fourth General Session
Robert Blank, former New York Regional Coordinator, sponsor of:
The Blank Lecture
Prof. Dan Rooney, Prof. Steve Schroeder and Dr. Patricia Scott West
“Exploring the Gateway to the West: St. Louis, Missouri”

Fifth General Session
Dr. Joan Fedor, International Honorary Member, former Washington Regional Coordinator, and the late Bob Fedor, sponsors of:
The Fedor Lecture
Ken Ramirez
“Exploring the Natural World: Frontiers in Animal Training”

Sixth General Session
The late June Cordier, International Honorary Member, sponsor of:
The Cordier Lecture
Dr. Sylvia Earle
“Exploring Under the Seas”

Seventh General Session
Gayle Wyatt, former Headquarters staff member who helped develop the Honors Institute, sponsor of:
The Wyatt Lecture
Pokey LaFarge
”Quest for Human Expression in the American Song Book”

Fedor, who also serves as a member of the Honors Program Council, has said that for her, Honors Institute was “love at first sight.”

"When I think about opportunities in Phi Theta Kappa I keep coming back to the Honors Institutes. I think our speakers contributed to international understanding long before we had the internet and email to bring us closer together,” she said. “Having international speakers come and talk was an incredible chance for our students to learn.’

Modschiedler was the first to dub the Honors Institute “the crown jewel of Phi Theta Kappa programming.”

“The camaraderie for students, the academic experience, are like nothing else,” he said. “Phi Theta Kappa has been the pinnacle of my community college experience, and I wanted to give something back.”

Rieves encourages others with a passion for Phi Theta Kappa to join these lecture sponsors in continuing Phi Theta Kappa’s legacy of excellence. For more information about how you can participate, contact Rieves at nancy.rieves@ptk.org and learn more at the Foundation website.