National Phi Beta Kappa Secretary, CEO Visits Creighton’s Campus

Fred Lawrence CEO of Phi Beta Kappa_resized

Creighton’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society welcomed the national organization’s Secretary and CEO, Frederick Lawrence, JD, to campus Oct. 18. Lawrence is the former President of Brandeis University before taking on the role of secretary and CEO of Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) two years ago. This was the first visit of its kind in the six years since Creighton’s chapter was installed. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious of the national academic honor societies.

During his time on campus, Lawrence spoke to several Creighton faculty who are members of Phi Beta Kappa about the society’s vision and the goal to make chapters more well-known on campus so that students better understand the organization.

He expressed the importance of the role of liberal arts and sciences in today’s society, with liberal arts graduates leading a meaningful, productive and engaged life. Lawrence also discussed the essential role of freedom of academic expression and the need to protect it.

Creighton’s Phi Beta Kappa Chapter President William Stephens, PhD, helped secure Lawrence’s appearance after the University of Nebraska-Lincoln chapter of Phi Beta Kappa offered to share his time with Creighton.

“It was delightful and inspiring to have Fred share his wisdom and insight on Phi Beta Kappa matters with us,” Stephens says. “Creighton is dedicated to the liberal arts and sciences and has been very supportive of our PBK chapter from its inception in 2012 and as our chapter has developed. Creighton’s Jesuit, Catholic mission harmonizes completely with the goals of Phi Beta Kappa.”

Creighton’s Phi Beta Kappa Secretary, Kristie Briggs, PhD, agreed.

“Creighton is proud of its PBK chapter,” she said. “Having Fred on campus provided additional inspiration and insight into how our chapter can support initiatives in the liberal arts and sciences. His comments regarding recent PBK initiatives related to freedom of expression were particularly interesting and highlighted the important role every member of the Creighton community plays in facilitating respectful dialogue,” she added.

After his presentation, Lawrence took time to answer some questions from Creighton faculty before sitting in on presentations about the Kingfisher Institute for the Liberal Arts and Professions and Creighton’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (CURAS). He then traveled to Lincoln for meetings at UNL after he left Creighton’s campus.