USD Initiates 32 Into State's Only Phi Beta Kappa Chapter

Thirty-two new members joined South Dakota’s only chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at the University of South Dakota this spring.

The students were initiated into the Alpha Chapter of South Dakota on April 20. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society.

Dr. Loren Amundson of Sioux Falls (USD School of Medicine, 1954; Distinguished Alumni Award, 2004) also was elected to membership in the chapter. Amundson and his mother Marjorie Lifto Amundson established the Lifto Amundson Lecture in 1989, which each year brings distinguished speakers from the liberal arts disciplines to lecture at USD.

This year’s lecture, by Professor Ed Brook of Oregon State University, was entitled “History of Greenhouse Gases and Climate from Polar Ice Cores: Lessons from the Past, Thoughts for the Future.”

Here is a list of the new senior members of Phi Beta Kappa and their majors:

Jennifer Allen, Sioux Falls; Chemistry, Medical Biology
Joseph B Bliss, Sioux Falls; Political Science
Lauren Elizabeth Cass, Loretto, Minn.; Chemistry
Katia Duszenko; French, International Studies, Media & Journalism
Austin Eggers, Rosholt; Medical Biology
Tiffany Michelle Eide, Hawthorne, Calif.; English, History, Media & Journalism
Lauren E Fanta, Yankton; Medical Biology
Colby J Felts, LeMars, Iowa; Medical Biology 
Matthew J Gerlach, Plankinton; Medical Biology
Shannon Rae Graham; Economics, Mathematics
Lillian Mary Kallestad, White Bear Lake, Minn.; French, Psychology
Joey Knofczynski, Pierre; Economics, Political Science
Sarah A Kuegle, Rapid City; Chemistry, German
Samantha Jean McCurry, Brookings; Biology
Hayley Newsom Naasz, Brandon; Chemistry
Tanya M Ochsner, Hartford; Psychology
Nicholas John Pekas; Chemistry, Spanish
Erick Peterson, Sioux Falls; History
Samuel David Reuland, White Lake, Minn.; History, Political Science
Bodhi Grey Schultz; Political Science
Abby Simon; Medical Biology
Paige Stavely, Hemlock, Mich.; Psychology
Erin Sternhagen, Groton; Medical Biology
Elena Tsakakis; Biology
Nate Vinzant; Medical Biology
Josephine Frances Whelan; English
Susan Katherine Wik, Faulkton; Biology
Isaiah Wonnenberg, Gregory; Political Science

Here are the new members of Phi Beta Kappa initiated as juniors:

Emily Roberson; Anthropology, Sustainability
Rachel Saltness, Rochester, Minn.; Medical Biology
Thayme Hardi Watson, Brookings; History, Political Science
Bridget Christina Wilds, Rapid City; Anthropology, History


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Michael Ewald
USD News