More than 1.5 million students have pursued educational excellence as part of the national interdisciplinary collegiate honor society Phi Kappa Phi.
This year, four of those members from SUNY Cortland received honors that set them apart, even among their peers.
Kathryn Hofmann was awarded the university’s Irmgard Mechlenburg Taylor Award, while Cynthia Briggs, Matthew Milano and Anthony Scibelli were selected as Scholars of the Year.
"Phi Kappa Phi started in 1897 with 10 senior students at the University of Maine,” said Chris Widdall, secretary of the SUNY Cortland Phi Kappa Phi chapter. “For over 125 years Phi Kappa Phi has supported students with its motto of ‘Let the love of learning rule humanity.’ We hope to continue this mission by beginning a regeneration of the SUNY Cortland Phi Kappa Phi society to once again be an active and service-orientated group to our community.”
The Irmgard Mechlenburg Taylor Award is named for Irmgard Taylor, professor emerita of international communication and culture (German). Taylor was a longtime member of the Modern Languages Department and a charter member of SUNY Cortland’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.
The endowment provides a $750 scholarship to be used for an undergraduate semester and is given to a student in the School of Arts and Sciences who earned the highest-grade point average among active members of the honor society.
The Scholars of the Year are selected from Phi Kappa Phi members who submit a student application. The application highlights the student’s service to others, academic strength and accomplishments that have enriched the lives of others. Recipients are given a $100 reward. An induction ceremony did not take place in Spring 2022 due to COVID precautions.
A Phi Kappa Phi Member since 2021 who will be graduating next spring, Hofmann is a senior majoring in sociology from Oxford, N.Y., with a minor in psychology and a concentration in criminology.
A senior inclusive childhood education major from Hawthorne, N.Y., who plans to graduate this December, Briggs’ plans include completing a master’s degree program and becoming an elementary educator.
Milano, from Miller Place, N.Y., is a senior physical education major with an adapted physical education concentration who also expects to graduate at the end of this semester. He plans to complete a master’s degree program at SUNY Cortland in preparation for teaching children with disabilities.
A senior physical education major from Plainview, N.Y., Scibelli aspires to complete a master’s degree in administration through the University of Ohio. He subsequently plans to teach physical education and in the long-term might pursue an administrative role in health and physical education, athletics or the K-12 system.
Phi Kappa Phi, as an interdisciplinary society, invites members from all recognized branches of academic endeavor, seeking to reward excellence wherever it can be identified. The honors organization provides more than $1 million in awards and grants each year. Membership is by invitation to the top juniors, seniors and graduate students who meet specific eligibility criteria at member-campuses.
The SUNY Cortland Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi specifies certain conditions in electing candidates to membership. Students must be of sound character and comprise a maximum of 10 percent of the senior class, not more than seven and a half percent of the junior class, and a maximum of 10 percent of the graduate students receiving degrees during the year. Faculty members are limited to four per year. The group allows no more than one honorary member per year, with prior approval of the society’s national board of directors.