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?

Giving Tuesday 2022 is November 29

Please watch for email inviting you to join make a donation for our scholarships and teacher award.  And, if you can't wait, go ahead and Donate now!

Our Fall General Meeting Was Very Well Received

We had our Fall General Meeting on November 13th at the Neill-Cochran House Museum, where we heard an inspiring talk about distant stars and galaxies from our keynote speaker, Dr. Daniel Jaffee. 

Daniel Jaffe is the Jane and Roland Blumberg Professor of Astronomy at the University of Texas.  He studies how stars and their accompanying planetary systems form.  He analyzes infrared light that allows his instruments to penetrate the dust clouds that surround these young systems.

As part of his work, Jaffe develops new instruments and devices.  Currently, one of his instruments is on the Gemini South 8m telescope in Chile.  A suite of his devices on the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope helps scientists to discover galaxies in the early universe and study the atmospheres of planets around other stars.  Dan currently serves as UT's Vice President for Research.

We also awarded our 2022 Teaching Excellence Award at this meeting, honoring Dr. Deborah Mann from the Austin Waldorf School where she teaches botany. Dr. Mann incorporates activities for her science students that include movement, art, group collaboration, and speech work. An outstanding part of her work with students is a week-long residential ecology field trip.

See more information about Dr. Mann here

Our House Concert on September 25th Was Great!

Our Key Connections event this year was a house concert, with a jazz trio from the Butler School of Music. Thanks to PBKAAGA Board Member Don Flournoy for providing his home as the venue. We were able to meet several new Phi Beta Kappa members in the greater Austin area, as well as mingle with many long-standing members of our organization. 

We Enjoyed a Jazz Quartet on April 10

After so much time when we were unable to get together, it was great to see dozens of PBKAAGA members and several new prospective members at our spring social event, a UT Jazz Ensemble playing at Antone's. Nibbling on a nice array of snacks we were entertained from about 2 to 4 p.m.  Thanks to those who joined us.

Spring General Meeting - May 1

We held our Spring General Meeting on Sunday, May 1 at the Neill-Cochran House Museum, where we awarded our 2022 scholarships and heard from our keynote speaker, Steve Saltwick, co-founder of Braver Angels of Central Texas. He spoke to the topic of Your Brain and the Solution for Political Polarization - the Neuroscience of Braver Angels.   

He described the theory of mind, the neuroscience basis for being ablt to understand that someone else might think differently about some topic than we do. Unique to humans among the primates, we have the ability to mentalize from about age 5. Thus we can consider not just our response to some situation, but also know that someone else might have a different perspective. With different perspectives, we sometimes have difficulty collaborating with others or agreeing on some belief or political position. 

Steve described how Braver Angels provides guidance one-on-one or in workshops to help individuals or groups with different perspectives conduct productive conversations. Using their Listen, Acknowledge, Pivot, Permission (LAPP) process, people can learn how to see commonalities in the problems they discuss and potential approaches to solutions. For more about their work, see

After the keynote, we awarded scholarships to seven high school graduates and one college student. See descriptions of the scholarship award winners for 2022 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  Make a Donation to contribute.

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 Join Us or Renew to process your membership.

Upcoming Events

Fall General Meeting - Sunday, November 13, 2022, 3pm-5pm

Join us at the Neill-Cochran House Museum to meet the winner of the 2022 Teaching Excellence Award and to hear from Dr. Daniel Jaffe on "First Galaxies, New Planets: the Revolution in Astronomy."

Officers and Board Members

Joyce Pulich, President

Joyce Statz, 1st Vice-President

Position Vacant, 2nd Vice-President

Robin Ingari, Treasurer,

Courtney Smith, Secretary

Constance P. Hicks, Past President

Board Members:

Pam Autrey

Robert Bridges

Phillip Church

Noble Doss

Marissa Duswalt Epstein

Don Flournoy

Anna Villaseñor Harris

Lisa Gaw

Catherine Jaffe

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