Kappa Chapter Welcome: What does it mean to be a Phi Beta Kappa?
There seems to be an ongoing debate about the value of the Liberal Arts. One day we’ll hear about their supposed worthlessness in a technologically focused world; the next we’ll hear that employers are looking for the kind of critical thinking, leadership and communication skills that students who study the liberal arts possess. What I can tell you is that by successfully studying liberal arts and by learning foreign languages, all of you can contribute to something that is so urgently needed today: true dialogue.
We who have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa have learned the value of coming into a conversation with one position, and leaving with a different, more informed opinion. We know that the value of our education doesn’t lie in being right all the time; it’s about asking good questions, articulating our thoughts clearly, and engaging with differing opinions civilly, intelligently, and generously. In our polarized environment, having an open mind and willingness to engage with those with whom we disagree is in itself an act of courage.
The motto of Phi Beta Kappa stands for Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης, meaning “Love of learning is the guide of life.” Your election to this organization signals that you have demonstrated that love of learning.
Congratulations to you all for your achievements here at UC Davis. May the love of learning be your guide to life.