Skip to main content

Lifto Amundson Lecture, Doyle Humanities Teaching Award highlight Alpha Chapter initiation at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Alpha Chapter of South Dakota, Phi Beta Kappa, at the University of South Dakota will initiate new members and host a celebratory banquet on Monday, March 31. The annual Lifto Amundson Lecture, which is open to the public, will conclude the evening’s events at 7:30 p.m. at the USD School of Law Court Room. The public is also invited to a reception at 7:15 p.m. in the Law School Commons.

The initiation ceremony is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. in the Law School Court Room followed by a banquet honoring all new members of Phi Beta Kappa at 6:30 p.m. in the Freedom Forum Room of the Al Neuharth Media Center.

The celebration of “25years of Lifto Amundson Lectures” will begin with the presentation of the James M. Doyle Humanities Teaching Award by Matthew C. Moen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and includes highlights of past lectures. The 26th Lifto Amundson speaker, Kory Floyd, Ph.D., professor of health and family communication at Arizona State University, will deliver the lecture, “The Importance of Being Prosocial:  Communication, Health and Well-Being.”

Floyd, whose work has been featured on NBC’s Today show, on National Public Radio, and in dozens of magazines and newspapers, is also a research associate with the Arizona Cancer Center. His research focuses on the communication of affection in close relationships and on its connections to wellness and health, exploring physiological responses to interpersonal communication. His theory, Affection Exchange Theory, assumes that affectionate behavior evolved within the human species due to its contributions to viability and fertility, and specifies some of the situations under which affection communication will have positive health benefits, and the situations under which it will induce a stress response.  His recent work has built on the experience of alexithymia, the inability to recognize or describe emotions, and the impact of alexithymia on interpersonal communication and relationships.

The Lifto Amundson Lecture was established in 1988 by Marjorie Lifto Amundson and her son, Dr. Loren H. Amundson of Sioux Falls. Mrs. Amundson was a member of USD’s Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Amundson (USD School of Medicine, 1954; Distinguished Alumni Award, 2004) was also elected to membership in the chapter. The Lifto Amundson Lectureship has enabled distinguished speakers from the liberal arts disciplines to visit USD each year and share their research and perspectives with the community. For more information about the lecture, please contact the USD Department of Communication Studies (605) 677-6199.


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 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News