Whitney John · January 26, 2017
On December 9, 2016, a group of 12 Southern Virginia University students and two philosophy faculty members, Dr. John Armstrong and Dr. Jan-Erik Jones, became the charter members of the Virginia Xi chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the International Honor Society in Philosophy.
“Dr. Jones and I wanted to recognize students who excel in philosophy,” said Dr. Armstrong, Willis J. Smith Professor of Philosophy. “We also wanted to give students leadership opportunities in an academic society.”
In an October 2016 letter to Dr. Armstrong, Dr. David Gibson, executive secretary of Phi Sigma Tau, wrote, “After carefully reviewing the history of Southern Virginia University, the achievement and training of its students in philosophy, and the training and accomplishments of its faculty, the National Executive Council of Phi Sigma Tau has unanimously endorsed your group’s petition to have a chapter of the Society founded on your campus. This endorsement has been ratified by vote of the Society’s active chapters.”
Founded in 1930, Phi Sigma Tau has more than 200 chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. In addition to recognizing students for achievement in philosophy, Phi Sigma Tau gives student members the opportunity to publish their philosophical research in the society’s undergraduate journal, Dialogue.
According to Zachary Bowers, the Virginia Xi chapter president, the new chapter will meet monthly in conjunction with the Philosophy Club, which is open to all students. “We welcome suggestions from students about the philosophical topics they would like to discuss at our meetings,” he said.
Phi Sigma Tau is now one of six honor societies at Southern Virginia. Membership in an honor society can appear on a student’s résumé and help with graduate school and job placement.
“By grounding yourself in rational thought, you can succeed more in life,” said Travis Chisholm, vice president of the new Phi Sigma Tau chapter.
Phi Sigma Tau student charter members initiated at the chapter’s installation ceremony were:
Zachary Bowers, President
Travis Chisholm, Vice President
Adrianna Jensen, Secretary
Philip Soelberg, Treasurer