The Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin

Welcome to PBKAAGA!

The Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin (PΒΚAAGA) was organized in 1998 to bring Phi Beta Kappans together and to promote the academic values of the society in keeping with our Mission Statement.  We program social and intellectual events and fund a number of scholarships for students about to enter college and those in baccalaureate degree programs. We provide a Teaching Excellence Award to an outstanding teacher in our area each year.

We welcome all ΦΒΚ members in the Greater Austin area to membership.  We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so dues and contributions are tax-deductible.

Mission Statement

Recognizing excellence in the liberal arts and sciences through college scholarships and teacher excellence awards, as well as fostering fellowship and lifelong learning among PBKAAGA members

What's Happening in PBKAAGA?

Key Connections Event was Special!

On September 12, about two dozen local Phi Beta Kappa alumni enjoyed a guided tour of the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas in Austin. Among those attending were half a dozen new Phi Beta Kappa alumni now living in Central Texas who learned about this event though the national Phi Beta Kappa office's Key Connections outreach.

With the assistance of our tour guide, we observed and discussed in depth several works of art, gaining insights that we might otherwise have missed in a casual visit. We can use the see-think-wonder process, developed by Harvard's Project Zero that we learned on this tour, as we make future visits to this and other museums. Participants thoroughly enjoyed the event and suggested we do it again!

Fall PBKAAGA General Meeting:

Sunday, November 14, 3-5 pm, Neill-Cochran House Museum

2310 San Gabriel Street, Austin, TX

At our Fall General Meeting, we will hear from Dr. Thomas Palaima in a talk titled “Is the Examined Life Worth Living?”

As an undergraduate mathematics major, under two Jesuit mentors Tom Palaima developed a deep passion for ancient Greek language, literature, history, and culture. Since childhood, he has been deeply moved by human suffering and how it affects human lives.

He is the Robert M. Armstrong Centennial Professor of Classics and director of the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory (PASP) at the University of Texas at Austin. A prolific researcher and writer, Dr. Palaima has authored more than a hundred book reviews and feature pieces on a range of topics, including human creative responses to war and violence, music and songs as social commentary, and the genius and cultural significance of Bob Dylan.

At the meeting, we will also award our 2021 Teaching Excellence Award to a deserving high school teacher from the Greater Austin Area.

Please join us at the Neill-Cochran House Museum for this interesting session and help us celebrate one of our local education stars!

We will also be providing the meeting virtually over Zoom. If you would like to attend that way, please register at this link:

Note: this is NOT the Zoom link for the meeting; it’s a registration link. Once you register, you’ll get the Zoom information for the meeting.

2021 Spring General Meeting

Our PBKAAGA Spring General Meeting was held on Sunday, May 2, at the Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel Street in Austin, with many attending virtually over Zoom as well.

We celebrated our scholarship winners for 2021, and we enjoyed a keynote address from Dr. Richard Reddick, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy and the inaugural Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement, and Outreach in the College of Education at the University of Texas.

He gave an inspiring talk about mentoring, explaining what a difference mentoring can make, including the role it played in his college life and his career.  Now a mentor to dozens of students and others, he urged the scholarship winners to seek out multiple mentors, going to them early in their college days.

For anyone interested in being a mentor, he urged us to just let the world know! One way to get started might be to contact him, and let him put out the word.

Thanks to everyone who donated to our scholarship funds.  We were pleased to offer one more scholarship this year than we have in the past, because of your generosity!

View the details about our scholarship winners here.


2020 Teaching Excellence Award Winners Announced

At the November 8, 2020 Fall General Meeting, PBKAAGA was pleased to honor not just one, but two, excellent teachers, Rebecca Cohen from Pflugerville High School and Jessica Davis from Bowie High School in Austin.

After opening remarks from President Connie Hicks, our keynote was a presentation from Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, also known as Two Guys on Your Head, hosted by Rebecca McInroy. Their discussion of teaching and learning was inspiring to teachers and to lifelong learners alike. We really appreciate that they were able to meet with us.

You can hear many of their weekly podcasts from the past seven years by going to this link

Members of the Teaching Excellence Award Committee described the process of choosing award winners, and they provided some background on Ms. Cohen and Ms. Davis. Each of the teachers then spoke about their goals as teachers. Supporting statements were provided in person by Ameka Hunt, Principal of Pflugerville High School, and in writing by Carla De La Rosa, Assistant Principal of Bowie High School.

Congratulations to both of our winners!

See more information about our award winners here

The 2021- 2022 Fundraising Drive is underway to fund college scholarships and a Teaching Excellence award for a high school teacher.
Your contributions make this happen. Any amount is much appreciated, but we have these levels of recognition:
  • Platinum Sponsor - $2,500 - Award in the name of the donor(s)
  • Gold Sponsor - $1,000 - Sponsor acknowledged during award ceremony
  • Silver Sponsor - $500 - Sponsor contribution noted in awards program
  • Bronze Sponsor - $250 - Sponsor contribution noted in awards program

Please go to the Make a Donation tab to make your donation.

Time to Renew your Membership (or join, if you haven't yet!)

PBKAAGA - the start of these initials might remind you of PB&J, the basic sandwich that takes us back to a time of simplicity. We each earned our PBK designation, and like PB&J, we probably don’t take ourselves all that seriously.   But there is one thing we all do take seriously: the value of academic excellence and promoting PBKAAGA.  That means supporting the main endeavor of this organization – giving scholarships to worthy applicants and recognizing Teaching Excellence. With your help, we are able to make a difference in the lives of even more students and teachers.  Like PB&J – we’re asking for a simple donation.

Please go to the Join Us or Renew page to process your membership.

Upcoming Events

Fall General Meeting - Sunday, November 14, from 3-5 p.m.

Keynote from Dr. Thomas Palaima and awarding of this year's Teaching Excellence Award for a high school teacher. Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel Street, Austin, TX.

Officers and Board Members

Joyce Pulich, President

Joyce Statz, 1st Vice-President

Alexandra Wettlaufer, 2nd Vice-President

Robin Ingari, Treasurer,

Courtney Smith, Secretary

Constance P. Hicks, Past President

Board Members:

Pam Autrey

Robert Bridges

Marissa Duswalt Epstein

Anna Villaseñor Harris

Elizabeth Richmond-Garza

Thomas Garza

Lisa Gaw

Catherine Jaffe

Jeff Tulis

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