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Scholarships & Awards

Gerald J. Oppenheimer Undergraduate Scholarships

Thanks to your support of our program, we were able award four Gerald J. Oppenheimer Undergraduate Scholarships for the academic year 2017-18 at $2,000 each. An additional $400 is awarded to the Ellsworth C. Alvord Jr. Scholar, whose essay will have been judged to be the best. Students at the University of Washington and the University of Puget Sound who have a financial need and who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.8 are eligible.

Gerald J. Oppenheimer was a long-time board member who served as vice-president and secretary in his many years of service to the organization. He was a strong advocate for undergraduates of the University of Washington and the University of Puget Sound as chair of the undergraduate scholarship committee. He passed away in 2016.

Dr. Ellsworth C. Alvord Jr., a member of PSA-PBK, was an outstanding physician, scientist, philanthropist, and humanitarian who dedicated his life to medical research and support of the local arts and sciences. He passed away in 2010.

This year's scholarship recipients are Michelle Asencio (UW; dance; human evolutionary biology), Abigail So Ra Hong (UW; English), Rebecca Miserlian (UPS; English), and Zohdi Cooperrider Young (UW; chemistry). The scholarship committee, having judged that Asencio wrote the best essay, awarded her the additional $400 Ellsworth C. Alvord Jr. Scholarship.

Ernest R. Stiefel Graduate Study Award

The Ernest R. Stiefel Graduate Study Award is given to graduate or professional students who are members of Phi Beta Kappa chapters at the University of Puget Sound or University of Washington and who will attend graduate or professional school at either the University of Puget Sound or the University of Washington.

The application deadline is June 30. One award will be made, in the amount of $4,500.

  • Summary (PDF)
  • Application (PDF), due June 30
  • The late Mr. Stiefel was a longtime member of the PSA-PBK board of trustees, serving for many years as its treasurer and assistant treasurer.

    Scholarship Donations

    If you would like to make a donation to our scholarship fund, please fill out and mail in our membership and donation form (DOC). You may also donate online.

    Pathfinder Awards

    At the spring luncheon each year, the Puget Sound Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa honors individuals (both adult and youth), businesses, and institutions with the Pathfinder Award. The award certificate reflects the imagery on the distinguished Phi Beta Kappa key, a hand pointing to the stars. It is given to those who “encourage others to seek new worlds to discover, pathways to explore, and untouched destinations to reach.” The people, businesses, and institutions honored do something to broaden peoples' interest in active intellectual accomplishment; they reach beyond ordinary routine, beyond the regular requirement of their lives and jobs, in order to break new intellectual ground and/or inspire others to do so.

    Awardees for 2016:

    PAIGE EDMISTON, for the innovative Sidekick Collective, a non-profit she founded to recognize high school students for their extraordinary efforts to make the world a better place and to provide seed money to carry their efforts forward as young adults.

    OCEAN GROUP at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, for its programs to teach children of Pacific Island heritage the languages, oral histories, dances, and songs of their ancestors, and helping them to gain confidence in their intellectual abilities.

    Humanities Achievement Awards

    On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their founding by an act of Congress and in recognition of the valuable support given by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts to liberal arts education, the Puget Sound Association of Phi Beta Kappa established its PSA-PBK Humanities Achievement Award. It is offered on a non-monetary, non-periodic basis to individuals or organizations whose contributions to the humanities or arts are considered to be outstanding.

    The two National Endowments are dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities and the arts. They provide grants for high-quality projects to cultural institutions and individual scholars, and provide opportunities for life-long learning.

    This non-monetary, non-periodic award is bestowed on an individual or organization who is judged to have contributed outstanding work in the humanities or arts.

    The Puget Sound Association of Phi Beta Kappa wishes to recognize this person's or organization's contribution in furthering its own goals of supporting liberal arts education.

    The nominee's work will have been done in one of the following fields: arts (visual and performing), comparative religion, history, jurisprudence, languages (ancient and modern), literature, philosophy, and elements of humanistic work in the social sciences.

    Our inaugural award was presented at our Spring 2015 Luncheon to SPEIGHT JENKINS, for advancing the cultural life of the Pacific Northwest through education and performances of operas throughout his 31-year career as the general director of the Seattle Opera.

    Our second  award was made to PROFESSOR RICHARD G. SALOMON of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington, where he is William and Ruth Gerberding University Professor. The award was given primarily because of his co-directorship of the Early Buddhist Manuscript Project, a joint enterprise of the University of Washington and the British Library. The work involves the decipherment of Gandhari-language birch bark scrolls, the earliest Buddhist literature extant, dating from the first century BCE. (Gandhari is a variety of Sanskrit.) The results will shed light on the early history of Buddhist culture. Professor Salomon is also general editor of the UW Series on Gandhara Manuscripts. He is a past president of the American Oriental Society, the oldest U.S. learned society devoted to a particular field of scholarship, in the humanities or otherwise.

    High School Outreach Awards

    Each spring we award a personally inscribed book to outstanding graduating seniors in participating high schools throughout the Puget Sound area. This is one way we encourage and reward outstanding scholastic achievement in the liberal arts and sciences. High school principals and guidance counselors are asked to provide the name of one graduating senior who exemplifies what Phi Beta Kappa represents — a love of learning — as demonstrated by their academic achievement as well as a record of service to others.

    Among the books we have chosen in the past are Timothy Egan's Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis; James Gleick's The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood; Walter Isaacson's Einstein: His Life and Universe; Gordon S. Wood's Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic; and Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat.

    Schools may select multiple award recipients. However, we can only pay for the first book award per school. Additional books, with the students' names inscribed on the bookplates, may be ordered at a cost of $35 per book, including shipping and handling. You can place your order using the PayPal button below or by sending us a check.

    If you would like additional information about the High School Outreach Awards program or would like to volunteer to present books at the schools' award ceremonies in May and June, please e-mail [email protected] or [email protected], or call Linda Willenberg at (425) 641-1606.

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