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Phi Beta Delta inducts 24 into Beta Xi chapter at Lamar

The Phi Beta Delta honor society for international scholars initiated 24 new members from Lamar University at the organization’s induction ceremony April 30, marking the 21st anniversary of the founding of the Lamar chapter, Beta Xi.  

“This brings international perspective to Lamar by giving attention to international students, domestic students wanting to travel abroad to study and research and members of Lamar faculty engaged in international research and scholarship,” said Cristina Rios, Beta Xi president.

Sixteen students and eight Lamar faculty members were inducted at the ceremony, and Beta Xi recognized Andrew Van Chau with an honorary membership. 2012 Beta Xi inductees who attended the event were presented with Phi Beta Delta medallions at the ceremony, held in the University Reception Center on the eighth floor of the Mary and John Gray Public Library. 

Phi Beta Delta

Founded in 1986, Phi Beta Delta is the first honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education.  The organization is both academic and professional, providing a venue for networking among faculty, staff and students involved in international endeavors.

The Beta Xi chapter was chartered at Lamar in 1991, but, in 2005, activity within the group came to a halt in the wake of Hurricane Rita.  Between the graduation of student members and the retirement of chapter president Bruce Drury, Beta Xi remained inactive until this year.

“The re-activation of the Beta Xi Chapter has been a joint effort of the existing members, and all members should receive credit; especially Dr. Bruce Drury,” said Rios. 

Drury, regents’ professor and distinguished professor emeritus of political science, gave the keynote address at the ceremony.  Having served as Beta Xi president for several years upon his retirement in 2005, Drury has continued to be a member of Phi Beta Delta.

Van Chau was recognized before Lamar President James Simmons, Beta Xi members, inductees and their families with a lifetime honorary membership.  A graduate of the Sorbonne in France, Van Chau currently lives in Austin; he was nominated by chapter secretary Victoria Price, adjunct professor of English and modern languages.

“Dr. Van Chau emerged as the head and leader in the community when almost 5,000 Vietnamese refugees came to Port Arthur and surrounding areas in about 1975.  He was subsequently made head of refugee relocation at the international level and was in Switzerland for about six years in that capacity,” Price said.  

Students who demonstrate scholarly achievement or excellence in substantial international endeavors must be nominated by existing members, selected by a membership committee and voted for membership by the chapter. In order to be considered for membership, undergraduate students are required to have a grade-point average of 3.2, while graduate students must have a 3.5. 

Lamar Faculty members were selected based on outstanding scholarly production at the international level, including publications in international journals or about international issues, presentations in international forums, and international acknowledgment of their research.  

The Beta Xi chapter welcomed the following new student members: Ademola M. Adedapo, Majed AbdulFattah Al-Bokhari, Marielva Guerrero Caballero, Yu Yao Chang, Kerilyn Alyson Edwards, Rezvan Khoshlessan, Jia-Yuan Liu, Elisabeth Ann Maxwell, Brittany Marie Newman, Justin West, Qingqing Yang and Zachary Zbranek, all of Beaumont; Madison Rae Davis, Bridge City; Eida Andrea Molnar Hernandez Cardenas, Eagle Pass; Cassandre Renee Durso, Groves; and Neha Pandey, Webster.

New faculty members include Jean Andrews, deaf studies-deaf education; Christine Bridges-Esser, Spanish; Keith Carter, art; Kevin Dodson, philosophy; Judy Anita Kennedy, mathematics; Purnendu Mandal, business; Dorothy Sisk, gifted education; and Malur N. Srinivasan, engineering.