Letter to the Editor: Rollins Blinks and Phi Beta Kappa Takes Notice

Hats off to The Sandspur editorial board for some intrepid investigative reporting in spite of your lack of tenure! Clearly, Rollins blinked and Phi Beta Kappa took notice.

In June, 1977, a month aft er my graduation from Rollins College, I penned a lett er to the Rollins president who had handed me my diploma the month before. In my letter to former Rollins president, Jack Critchfield, I asked if Rollins had applied for Phi Beta Kappa membership, which would cement the college’s reputation for academic rigor … or words to that effect.

President Critchfield responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!” and promised to keep me abreast of the college’s progress as much as possible. Years earlier, Dr. Critchfi eld had agreed to be my career reference. Several years following my graduation, President Critchfield exclaimed that I “would make an excellent Rollins trustee.”

Try to imagine how I felt when I read in The Sandspur that the handling of the formation of a new College of Professional Studies at Rollins “had a negative eff ect on the college’s reputation in the decision by Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious honor society, to terminate Rollins’ candidacy.”

The article implied that President Lewis Duncan was completely responsible, which is a laughable assertion, given the fact that nothing approaching this magnitude could ever be done unilaterally without the trustees being onboard. And only the President and his trustees know how this played out.

But, what we do know is that nothing could be worth causing a Phi Beta Kappa candidacy to be terminated. I urge all alums and supporters of Rollins College to let the Rollins leadership know how vitally important that Phi Beta Kappa candidacy is to the college, and to make whatever changes are necessary to get back in the good graces of Phi Beta Kappa.

Many individuals have worked ceaselessly over a period of DECADES to land a Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Rollins including one Rollins president in particular who made major inroads. Let’s get going on a new application!

—Will Graves ‘77
Will Graves is a graduate marketing instructor, community activist, 37 year Rollins volunteer, and Rollins alumnus. He is one of five members of his family who have attended Rollins since the 1940s. He lives in Winter Park.

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