Ninety-five Seniors Join Phi Beta Kappa

UPDATED: May 21, 2016, at 9:50 p.m.

Rejoicing with smiles, shouts, and hurried text messages to parents, 95 members of the Class of 2016 found out they had been elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society in an email on Wednesday.

Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest arts and sciences honor society in the United States, selects around 10 percent of seniors from the 284 institutions that have active chapters. Prospective members must demonstrate academic excellence in a variety of courses to be considered for election.

The 95 seniors who were informed of their election on Wednesday join an additional 48 members of their class who were elected in the fall of 2015 and 24 who were elected in the spring of their junior years.

This spring’s cohort of honorees comes from all 12 of Harvard’s upperclassman Houses. The strongest showing came from Leverett House, with 15 newly-elected members, followed by Adams House with 14. The 95 students who were selected concentrate in nearly 30 subjects, with Applied Mathematics and Economics tied for the greatest number of inductees at eight each.


Upon receiving the notification of their election, students said they felt a range of emotions, from excitement to surprise to satisfaction. Brianna J. Suslovic ’16—an Anthropology concentrator from Winthrop House—said her award felt like a validation of her hard work while at the College.

“I think that I’m a person who has always really tried to take academics pretty seriously,” Suslovic said. “I’ve put in a lot of effort in all of my classes at Harvard, and it's really exciting that this is almost proof that all of the effort was worth it.”

For Linguistics concentrator Dylan W. Hardenbergh ’16, a resident of Leverett House, the email informing him he had been chosen was almost completely unexpected.

“It was a nice surprise to receive,” Hardenbergh said. “For me it wasn’t something that was really on my radar that much.”

The newly-elected seniors will be officially inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in a ceremony next Tuesday morning, Jeffrey Berg, assistant director at the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, wrote in an email to the elected students.

“I’m really looking forward to kicking off Commencement week with the induction,” Joshua D. Blecher-Cohen ’16, a Philosophy and Classics joint concentrator from Adams House, said. “It’s a really exciting way to finish off my four years at Harvard.”

—Staff writer Jonathan G. Adler can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JonathanGAdler.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: May 21, 2016

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the concentration of Joshua D. Blecher-Cohen ’16.


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