Geneva College

 

 

Honor society welcomes 31 new members

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Junior business major Sophia Jeune, left, was among 31 upperclassmen inducted into Alpha Chi last week. Jeune, who is from Haiti, is pictured here with Ann Burkhead, director of the college’s Crossroads and international student services office. 
 
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President Kenneth A. Smith and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ken Carson congratulate junior business major Beth Halama on her induction into the national honor society. 
 
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Members of the platform party applaud as Dr. Eric Miller, professor of history and humanities, prepares to address Geneva’s newest Alpha Chi inductees at a ceremony Oct. 3. 
 
Thirty-one of Geneva’s upperclassmen were formally received into the Pennsylvania Lambda Chapter of Alpha Chi, a national honor society that celebrates academic excellence and exemplary character among college students, on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

College faculty members called to the stage each inductee, who received congratulations from the platform party and signed the constitution. Geneva’s 2007 inductees, who rank among the top 10 percent of their class, included Emily Baker, Lindsay Bochek, Shea Bohaski, Chistopher Bowman, Sarah Brooks, Julia Buck, Andrew Colbert, Sarah Costea, Emma Cowell, Elisabeth Eriksson, Caroline Franzke, Kiley Friend, Beth Halama, Amanda Havener, Emily Heshler, Sophia Jeune, Jessica Kramer, Erin Lehman, Robert Leiphart, Michael McComas, Janeen Montlick, Nicole Okerlund, Nathaniel Pockras, Tara Ann Puro, Bethany Rogonesi, Sharayah Scheffel, Mark Shifflett, Daniel Terracciano, Amy Thayer, Rebekah Troup and Rebecca VanRegenmorter.

“Recognizing students that have excelled academically at Geneva by inducting them into a national honor society is important because, first, it affirms to them that what they are doing here at Geneva is important and appreciated by us, the faculty,” says Dr. Andrea J. Smidt, assistant chapter sponsor and professor of history. “But, secondly, the induction gives them further opportunities to grow in their present commitments of academic excellence outside of Geneva’s campus.”

Dr. Eric Miller, professor of history and humanities and the recipient of last year’s Excellence in Scholarship Award, addressed the audience in Old Main following the induction of the students with a speech titled “1000 Points of Life.” Beginning with a focus on language and the centrality of words, Miller noted that time “began with the Word, singing us and our world into being” and that time will end with the Word “as He pronounces in glorious strength once more that ‘it is finished’—a mighty speech indeed, as our shadows finally recede, our storms are stilled, and a brilliant sun prevails.”

Miller described a world jaded and crushed, where people yearn for the kind of lasting, life-giving light proceeding from God but somehow settle for “the barren substitute that this world offers” where individuals are left alone “with our pitiful little pleasures.” It’s a world where the meaning and freedom God once spoke into being have been lost and where speeches of promise and hope and prosperity continue to ring hollow.

“The mouth opens, the words proceed, but no one speaks,” Miller said. “The speech act fails.” Miller then challenged the campus community with a different vision of life full of meaning and real light—“a world in which the word takes flesh.”

“It’s a thousand points of life that our world needs to see, churches, societies, businesses, families, colleges that are willing, against all odds, to go for broke, to aim once more for the marrow of life, for the sweetness of God himself, as published with shocking clarity in the incarnation of His Son,” Miller said. “Unless we make this way of life, the way of the crucified Christ, our aim in all that we as a college do, we will simply assume the slot designated for us by this world, losing our good name, and with it any ability to speak to that world with meaning and force.”

While Alpha Chi is a national organization that is not specifically religious in orientation, Smidt notes that the society, founded in 1922, takes its motto from John 8:28: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The society’s ideals of truth and character fit well with Geneva’s aims, Smidt says.

“As scholarship is the power of the mind to dispel ignorance and superstition through the fearless investigation and search for truth, scholarship done from a Christian perspective works also towards the renewal of our hearts and minds to be fashioned ever more in the image of God,” Smidt says. “At Geneva, we affirm that all truth is God’s truth and that the quest for truth in all academic disciplines glorifies God.”

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The first biopsychology major graduated in 2012 and has been hired as an IOM Tech in UPMC’s Center for Clinical Neurophysiology (CCN).

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