A core part of Phi Beta Kappa’s mission is to foster and promote the liberal arts and sciences. In addition to conferring membership to outstanding students, the Society is involved in a number of advocacy programs to spread the message about the benefits of a liberal arts education.
Started in 1956, the Visiting Scholars program sends distinguished speakers to chapters across the country to meet with faculty and students and to address the school. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between distinguished visiting scholars and the resident faculty and students.
During their time on campus, Visiting Scholars speak to classes and clubs, share meals with faculty, staff, and students, and give a public lecture. In April 2024, the Zeta Chapter of Maryland at St. Mary’s College of Maryland will host it’s ninth scholar since its Chapter was inducted in 1998, Dr. Cynthia Moss. Dr. Moss is Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Mechanical Engineering, at Johns Hopkins University). She will present a public lecture entitled “Using Sound to Navigate the World: Echolocation by Bats and Blind Humans” on Tuesday, April 16 at 4:40 p.m. in the Nancy R. and Norton T. Dodge Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.
Held once a year, traditionally the first week in April. Students elected as Members-in-Course receive their certificates and graduation cords at the ceremony. Alumni and Honorary members (which may be elected each year) are also recognized.
Ceremony held each November to honor select National Honor Society students from five high schools in St. Mary’s County; NHS advisors nominate students based on the criteria of outstanding academic records and evidence of high moral character. Those selected for the award are given a book relevant to their field(s) of interest. Current high-achieving sophomores at St. Mary’s College of Maryland are also personally invited to attend the ceremony and recognized for their success at SMCM thus far.