From the Executive Director: A Last Word

Mary Todd
Jun 11, 2021

Dear Friends of Phi Kappa Phi,

As I write, I am winding down after nine years as executive director of Phi Kappa Phi. What a rewarding experience it has been to move from higher ed administration to leadership of an organization that supports higher education in such a significant way.

Along the way, I’ve met many of you, at conventions or workshops or on campus visits. Whether invited to speak at an initiation or on a site visit to a prospective chapter or installing a new chapter, the opportunity to gather with members who share the Society’s commitment to excellence is always a joy.

A special thanks to the hundreds of you who serve or have served as chapter officers. Our membership numbers are due to you, as it is you who encourage students and faculty colleagues to accept our invitation to membership. The Society will need you more than ever in the future.

Thanks, too, to those who have served on national committees. Each biennium we receive expressions of interest from more volunteers than there are committee slots available. Most are award selection committees — a member of one recently wrote to say how meaningful he found committee service: “the experience of this volunteer effort has been one of the most interesting and rewarding I have had.” Engaging members as volunteers is central to our success as an organization.

The members with whom I have worked most closely are, of course, those who serve on the board of directors. I have been gratified for their support of the multiple projects developed to effect the strategic initiatives we outlined together in my first biennium, and I have been fortunate to partner with a number of gifted board leaders to advance the Society’s mission of excellence.

The daily operations of the Society depend on the focused efforts of the staff at the national office. It has been a pleasure to serve alongside my staff colleagues. The assistance they provide to members and chapters is an incalculable asset to the organization’s standing.

All of us, together, are the community of scholars to which our mission statement refers. And all of us, together, are members of the most prestigious all-discipline collegiate honor society. Our active membership of over 100,000 includes women and men who span five generations, who live in every state and beyond our national borders, whose fields of study and life’s work reflect a rich diversity.

Amid that diversity, what our community shares is commitment to the principle on which Phi Kappa Phi was founded nearly 125 years ago — the love of learning. Here’s to keeping lit what Einstein called the “holy curiosity of inquiry.”

Thank you for being a friend.