Honor society at work
April 11, 2014
Two-time Lincoln Prize winner Douglas Wilson of the Knox College Lincoln Studies Center paid a visit to Monmouth campus on March 27 for a lecture sponsored by three Monmouth College student honorary societies – Phi Alpha Theta, Sigma Tau Delta and Alpha Psi Omega – along with ASAP. The lecture, “Lincoln and Shakespeare” detailed the importance of William Shakespeare in the life of “one of the most admired of all Americans,” Abraham Lincoln. Drawing from Wilson’s own research, both over primary-source evidence of Lincoln’s love of the bard and the inclusion of Shakespeare’s work in the 2012 Spielberg film “Lincoln,” the 50 minute talk was both interesting and informative.
Two film viewings were also sponsored leading up to the talk, one of the aforementioned Spielberg film, “Lincoln,” and another, John Madden’s 1998 film “Shakespeare in Love.” It was hoped that these films would provide context for Wilson’s lecture as well as ground the information for those who attended both the films and the lecture.
The talk was one of several activities planned by Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society, which has seen resurgence this year under the presidency of Ashley Atwell and the guidance of Stacy Cordery, the history department chair. “Every student organization rises with good leadership but falls unless someone maintains a strong hand at the helm,” Cordery said of the society’s revival. “When students graduate, they remember their professors and classes but they also remember activities, and unless that strong leader prepares for his or her succession, the group will fail. At that point somebody, often a professor, has to step in to restart it.” In this case, those “somebodies” have managed to revive the organization. They are initiating 13 new members this year, and are always accepting more.
When asked about how presidency has been, Ashley Atwell said that is has been “difficult, but rewarding. It’s a guess-and-check system. We tried movies, service events and it just took someone who was here long enough to establish an active organization. Our goal is to create awareness.”
Phi Alpha Theta has several events planned for the rest of the year, including their annual bowling trip, to which everyone is invited. The honor society also began a fundraiser in April, and is busy at work planning for the end of the year History Department party.