Cal Van Niewaal elected as new Senator of Phi Beta Kappa

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2015-10-29 14:38:49 - General

Cal Van Niewaal
Cal Van Niewaal
Professor of Computer Science and John F. Yothers Professor of Mathematics

The Phi Beta Kappa Society is pleased to announce the election of 13 Senators on October 9 at its 44th Triennial Council in Denver. One of the new Senators is Cal Van Niewaal, Professor of Computer Science and John F. Yothers Professor of Mathematics. As a newly elected Senator, Cal will be representing the honor society’s North Central District.

The Triennial Council is the legislative body of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest academic honor society founded December 5, 1776. The Council convenes every three years to carry out the business of the Society, including the election of Senators to fill the seats on the Phi Beta Kappa Senate.

Senators serve as directors who guide the Society on policy matters that are carried out by the national office of Phi Beta Kappa, and set the direction for the Society’s future. The normal Senate term of office is six years. Four people are returning to the Senate for a second term. Nine are new to the Phi Beta Kappa Senate.

"Phi Beta Kappa is very fortunate that these distinguished individuals are willing to volunteer their time to serve as Senators," said John Churchill, Secretary of the Society. "Their skills and expertise will enhance those of our current Senators. They bring a variety of perspectives for assessing the best ways to advance the values of liberal arts and sciences education in America. I look forward to working with them."

James Y. Canfield Professor of Psychology and Executive Director of Planning Wendy Dunn also attended the Denver meeting, where she was reappointed to a second three-year term on the Phi Beta Kappa Society's Committee on Qualifications (CQ). There are 13 members of the CQ, making the appointment to the committee quite prestigious. The CQ reviews applications from colleges and universities that are seeking to shelter new chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, makes site visits to those institutions which make the first cut, and then makes final recommendations on where new chapters should be established.

Associate Professor of Education Nancy Hayes was the third Coe faculty member to attend the Triennial Council meeting. Nancy is the new secretary-treasurer of Coe's Phi Beta Kappa chapter and she was in Denver as the chapter's primary delegate to the Council.

About The Phi Beta Kappa Society
Founded on December 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s oldest and most-widely known academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States - including at Coe College - with more than half a million members around the world. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression. For more information, visit