Last Sunday, 230 of the University freshmen were inducted into Phi Eta Sigma (PES), one of the largest national honors societies in the United States.
Opening remarks were given by Golam M. Mathbor, Associate Dean of the McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences and faculty advisor for Phi Eta Sigma. He told the first-year students, “Your character is your destiny.”
Lori Mueller, president of PES, spoke in front of inductees and family members about the responsibilities that come with being a part of this national honor society, such as scholastic excellence and impeccable character. Mueller explained the importance of a disciplined mind as well as a well taken care of body. Some other responsibilities given were to always be truthful and helpful, live clean, and have charity when judging others.
The inductees took an oath before being called to the stage. Each student committed to uphold the responsibilities and qualities that come along with being a part of PES. They all stood up and said, “I will,” after being read that they would uphold these responsibilities and qualities in everyday life.
Dr. Michael A. Palladino, Dean of the School of Science and biology professor, took the stage as the guest speaker after all freshmen were inducted. Palladino complimented the students on achieving such a high level of success in their first semester and starting their college career off so well. “Only 20 percent reach the mark,” Palladino said, “You are all leaders of your class; you lead by example and by motivating others.”
Palladino spoke about many of the distinguishing features of PES but focused on one, which was goals versus expectations. Palladino said all students have the expectation to get good grades and graduate.
Some students that are involved chose to be because they wished to meet others concerned with their academic standings. Jaclyn Vinciguerra, freshman accounting major, said, “It’s a good way to meet new people and to have opportunities that otherwise I wouldn’t have.” Jessica Duda, freshman education major, also agreed that this would open a wide variety of opportunities for her in the future and stressed on how it means a lot to be involved in something as big as PES.
Sarah McGail, freshman English major, said, “PES is a great community of people who are as passionate about learning as I am.”
Rebekah Varin, freshman English major, is glad that it establishes a good start on her academic career and keeps her on the right track, but as the president of her high school’s National Honor Society, she is used to ceremonies like this and was not nervous at all. In the crowd, parents of freshman Angela Morres stressed how important this opportunity was for their daughter. They said, “It will keep her on the right track and help her continue to get good grades and keep us proud.”
At the ceremony, a scholarship was given for students in PES to buy books for the following semester. One scholarship recipient was Michael Burke, sophomore music industry major, who joined PES last year and was happy to be getting a scholarship to pay for his books. Burke also commented on how being a part of this honors society has helped him continually stay motivated and get good grades since he was inducted.
Mueller ended the ceremony by stating how these students’ high ideals represent a love of wisdom and knowledge.
PES was organized in 1923 at the University of Illinois and now has over 200 chapters throughout the country. To be admitted, freshmen must have at least a 3.5 grade point average during their first semester at the University.