In a night celebrating the scholastic excellence of the 2019 freshman class, the Monmouth University Phi Eta Sigma chapter conducted its annual induction ceremony on the first Friday of March at 7:00 PM.
With Pollak Theater setting the stage, the Phi Eta Sigma honors society for first-year students inducted its newly-recognized academics dutifully, celebrating not only the importance of academic achievement but stressing the importance of admirable character and soundness of body and mind.
Out of the approximate 1,025 members of the University’s graduating class of 2022, 416 qualified for honors by Phi Eta Sigma by achieving a 3.5 grade point average or higher in their first semester.
Founded at the University of Illinois in 1923, Phi Eta Sigma has established over 378 higher learning institutions around the United States, and Monmouth University’s chapter is the 272nd chapter circa. 1987.
The Society began as a freshmanmen’s honorary fraternity, where there was a secret password used, a formal handshake, and club-exclusive meetings. In 1974, Phi Eta Sigma became non-gender-specific and opened the induction ceremony to non-members.
There are over 1.1 million lifetime members of Phi Eta Sigma
Entering Pollak Theater on induction night, standing out were a panel onstage of six seats, a podium with a beautiful floral arrangement before it, and, showcased on the back wall, a vivid image of the Phi Eta Sigma crest.
In a striking gold and black color, the Crest symbolizes nobility, higher development, and intelligence in its imagery, including a torch and a book, a pyramid, a gold star, and a key. In Greek, the phrase “Knowledge is Power” adorns a scroll on the Crest.
At the helm of the ceremony speeches were internationally-accomplished faculty advisor Golam Mathbor, Ph.D.,and representatives from Phi Eta Sigma’s executive board: Historian Jess Romanik, Secretary Arbaz Khan, and Treasurer Jeremy Eletto.
“Phi Eta Sigma, into which you are about to be inducted, emphasizes those personal qualities which are essential to a successful and happy life…” Mathbor addressed the first-year candidates, “The person who succeeds must possess three important qualities: vigor and discipline of mind, care, and respect for the body, and, above all, nobility and generosity of character.”
Nancy Mezey, Ph.D., Dean of the Honors School as well as a full professor of Sociology, and Professor William Gorman, from the Department of History and Anthropology, were key speakers alongside the society’s executive board. They provided their valuable insight into both academic and personal spheres to encourage the incoming Phi Eta Sigma members to cultivate their best selves as they move through their lives.
Mathbor and the executive board members lead the inductees through the affirmation of honorable qualities for their future lives, to which they collectively responded: “I will”. It was a powerful moment, followed by the official welcoming to the Society, and the awarding of certificates to the individual new members by name.
Visibly proud, Mathbor concluded the ceremony by sharing his appreciation for the faculty, parents, and students with his Vote of Thanks.
“A leader to me is a person who can outstandingly influence others,” Mathbor expressed to the audience. “This influence is about competency and character…remember, your character is your destiny.”
Mathbor continued, “Citizens of competence and character are the greatest gifts of mankind. You have already demonstrated your leadership qualities…Hopefully, you will continue maintaining this academic excellence in your future career here at Monmouth and beyond.”
Following the ceremony, faculty, students, and their families in attendance gathered in the lobby for refreshments.
“Getting off to a good start sets the bar for your academic career,” PES Treasurer Eletto spoke on the importance of Phi Eta Sigma, “this Society is a means for success.”
PES Historian Romanik, now a sophomore, looked back on the impact on her own progress, “Attending the event as a freshman encouraged me to be more active in the Society and at the University on a whole.”
When asked about the impact of Phi Eta Sigma, newly-inducted members AJ Benfante and Nathan Heisey commented:
“It is a great head start to your academic career as a first-year student,” Benfante said, “and provides personal motivation for the future.”
“It really is a valuable learning experience,” Heisey added, “and it also looks very good for your resume, and for future employers to see that you worked hard.”
Inductee Leah Frain also expressed her appreciation for the Society: “An academic community like this is really important for like-minded students to meet.”
Frain concluded, “It is incredibly helpful for freshmen to realize that their hard work is appreciated by Monmouth, and by Phi Eta Sigma.”