Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association, Inc.

September 2004 Newsletter

PBKNCA home page

From the President

Dear Fellow Phi Betes:

Let me begin my first letter as the newly elected President of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Northern California by thanking you for this expression of confidence and by extending my best wishes to you and your families for the coming year on behalf of our Board. At our Annual Meeting in May, the membership ratified the entire slate of candidates presented by our Nominating Committee Chair, Narcinda Lerner. They include Jennifer Jones, First Vice President,Programs; Joanne Sandstrom, Second Vice President, Scholarship; Letitia Saunders, Third Vice President, Membership; Maria Norall, Recording Secretary, Jean E. James, Corresponding Secretary; Mary Turner Gilliland, Treasurer; Leon Fisher, Teaching Excellence Chair; Julia Gustas Antoniades, Chapter Liaison; Gerald T. Richards, Newsletter Chair; Mary Hanel, Past President; and Jean E. James, Asilomar Chair. Jennifer and Joanne are new to the Board and we warmly welcome them. During the past year we suddenly lost our Program Chair to the vagaries of corporate employment, and other members of the Board stepped in to ensure that we had a full slate of activities for the enjoyment of our members and the replenishment of our Scholarship Fund. For cheerfully shouldering this additional burden, I would like to thank Mary Hanel, Jean James (already doing double duty as Corresponding Secretary and Asilomar Chair), Maria Norall, Mary Gilliland, and former President, Jacqueline Dever Celenza.

For the last two years, we have awarded eight graduate scholarships of $4,000 each to deserving graduate students at Bay Area universities; information about this year's winners is below. Indeed, it was with some reluctance that I surrendered the position of Scholarship Chair for that of President because the work of the Scholarship Committee is so rewarding: each year we get to read in detail about the accomplishments and often breathtaking intellectual aspirations of approximately thirty remarkable men and women, selected by their University Scholarship Committee to compete for our awards. For those of you who may fear that the younger generation is shallow, materialistic, and incapable of sustained work or hard thinking, I invite you to read the statements of purpose that accompany the scholarship applications; these young scholars are as serious about the pursuit of learning and the creation of new knowledge, as willing to endure years of material privation, and as idealistic about the academic enterprise as any previous generation of Phi Betes. They represent the future of learning and teaching, and they fully deserve our modest efforts to support them at what is in most cases a critical juncture in their career.

Below, you will find the first of the programs planned for the fall. We hope you find one that intrigues you and sign up for it. In doing so, you will contribute to the Scholarship Fund and meet other lively and curious Phi Betes. If you have ideas for other outings that you think members would enjoy, please let or another member of the Board know. We would like to hear from you!



Upcoming Events

Person making a reservation MUST BE a Phi Beta Kappa Member, but need not be a member of the Northern California Association.

If you plan to attend any of the PBKNCA events, please clip or copy the appropriate coupon in the hard copy of the Newsletter, fill it out and mail it, with your check, to the appropriate person at the address indicated. No confirmations or additional details will be sent; be sure to save this newsletter!

Second Vice President - Programs

Calling All Olive and Olive Oil Lovers

Do you long for the taste and beauty of Tuscany? Then mark your calendars now and plan to join us on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004, when PBK NCA will have the rare opportunity to visit Nan McEvoy's 550-acre organic olive ranch located at 5935 Red Hill Rd. (between Novato and Petaluma). The McEvoy Ranch features 18,000 olive trees thriving in a spectacular valley near the Marin-Sonoma border.

During the tour, we will visit one of the orchards and discuss the horticulture of growing olive trees, McEvoy’s certified organic practices, and their harvest techniques. (Ours is one of the last public tours before the harvest, so it should be quite impressive.) We will then proceed to the frantoio, or olive milling room, to discuss the McEvoy process of extracting olive oil. The visit concludes with a sensory evaluation, tasting, and discussion of the culinary uses of olive oil.

The tour starts promptly at 10 a.m. and ends at noon. At the end of the tour, there will be time available for shopping in the McEvoy Ranch retail store where you may purchase olive oil, olive trees, other olive oil related products, as well as fresh items produced at the ranch.

Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after the tour just a few miles south of the McEvoy Ranch at the Rouge et Noir Cheese Factory (where you may also buy your picnic items), or travel on to Pt. Reyes Station which offers a variety of luncheon opportunities.

To reserve a space (the limit is 40), please fill out the coupon on page 5 of the newsletter or email . (If you receive your newsletter after the September 22nd deadline, please call or email me to see if space is still available.)

Date: Saturday, October 2, 2004
Time: 10 a.m. until noon
Cost: $30 per person
Deadline: *September 22, 2004

Directions: From the Golden Gate Bridge, take 101 N. to the Atherton-San Marin Drive exit (the last exit in Novato). Travel west on San Marin Drive until San Marin High School. (At this point, San Marin Drive turns into Sutro Ave.) Turn right on Novato Blvd. Continue on Novato Blvd. until it dead ends at Point Reyes-Petaluma Blvd. Turn right on Point Reyes-Petaluma Blvd. The McEvoy Ranch is on the right, approximately 2.7 miles from the Novato Blvd. – Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Blvd. intersection. (Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Blvd. is also known as Red Hill Road, thus the actual ranch address of 5935 Red Hill Rd) If you come to San Antonio Rd., you have gone too far north.

[ Yahoo! Maps ]
Map to the McEvoy Ranch from Sutro Ave/Novato Blvd



Tule Elk Walk

Put on your hiking boots and plan to join us for a naturalist-led walk to see the beautiful and regal Tule Elk at Tomales Point near Pt. Reyes. The elk, which used to be abundant in Central and Northern California, were brought to the brink of extinction by hunting and habitat loss. They currently live on approximately 22 preserves around the state. The largest herd of elk can be found on the grasslands of Tomales Point. They received their name because they used to graze on Tule, a kind of sedge or bulrush. They are also known as dwarf elk or “Wapiti” and are the smallest of the elk. Their Shawnee name “Wapiti” means white rump. The Tule Elk have light bodies and dark heads.

The elk’s mating season (also known as “rutting”) begins in July and continues through the middle of October. During this time, the male elk compete with other males. The winning bull gets the harem. Occasionally, bugling, a clear whistle, is heard as part of the mating process.

Dress in layers, as it can be chilly and windy, or warm and sunny. Don’t forget your binoculars (if you have them), and a sack lunch or visit Tomales Bay Foods at 80 Fourth Street. There are also places to pick up a sandwich in Inverness or Olema. Please also be prepared for ticks in the area. There is no restroom at the Tomales Point trailhead. You could stop at the parking lot for the Abbott’s Lagoon trailhead, a couple of miles before the end of Pierce Point Road, and use the facilities there.

After our walk, you may want to stop at one of the three local oyster companies: Hog Island Oyster Company (415.663.9218), Johnston’s Oyster Farm (415.669.1149) and Tomales Bay Oyster Company (415.663.1242). If you visit one of the local beaches afterwards, please note that they have strong currents, and there have been shark sightings.

Our instructor will be the personable and knowledgeable Wendy Dreskin, a naturalist who teaches the popular Meandering in Marin class for adults at College of Marin, as well as conducting weekly nature education classes at various elementary schools around Marin County. She is the winner of the 2003 Terwilliger Environmental Award.

Date: Saturday, October 16. (We will cancel at 6:30am in the event of a hard rain, so be sure to include your e- mail address and telephone number on the coupon.)
Time: 10:30 am – 2pm
Deadline: October 1, 2004
Price: $20 per person

Directions: From the Golden Gate Bridge heading north on 101, take the Sir Francis Drake exit and head west to Olema. Turn right on Rt. 1, then make an immediate left onto Bear Valley Rd. Continue past Park Headquarters for about two miles, and turn left when you hit Sir Francis Drake again. Continue on Sir Francis Drake about 5.5 miles and go through Inverness. When Sir Francis Drake turns left, the road should turn into Pierce Point Road (Please don’t turn left. Go straight and continue on Pierce Point Road). Follow the scenic Pierce Point Road about 9 miles to Tomales Point. The trailhead is located at historic Pierce Point Ranch.

[ Yahoo! Maps ]
Map from Inverness to Map of Pierce Point Rd At Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Follow map NW to continue on Pierce Point Rd to Tomales Point


Lindsay Wildlife Museum

Come join us for a private tour of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek. The museum is dedicated to wildlife rehabilitation and has one of the oldest and largest wildlife hospitals in the country, treating more than 6,000 injured and orphaned animals each year. The museum is also home to the animals that can not be released back into the wild. On our private tour, we will meet many of these animals, and our tour will finish just in time to see the eagle feeding. After our tour, feel free to explore the learning theatre, discovery room, the gardens, and other animal presentations throughout the day.

Date: Saturday, November 6, 2004
Time: 11 am – 12 noon, Please don’t miss the eagle feeding at 12:30pm
Deadline: October 1, 2004
Price: $12.00 per person

Directions: From San Jose and South Bay: Take 680 North past Highway 24 interchange in Walnut Creek. Take the Treat Blvd./Geary Road exit and turn left over freeway. Proceed three more lights and turn left on Buena Vista. Turn right on First Avenue. The museum is half-way up the block on the left. From San Francisco and Oakland: Take Highway 24 East to Walnut Creek. Take 680 North. Take the Treat Blvd./Geary Road exit and turn left over freeway. Proceed three more lights and turn left on Buena Vista. Turn right on First Avenue. The museum is half-way up the block on the left. From Concord and North Bay: Take 680 South to Treat Blvd. Exit. Turn left at light onto North Main St. Turn right on Geary Road. Turn left on Buena Vista. Turn right on First Avenue. The museum is half-way up the block on the left.

[ Yahoo! Maps ]
Map to Lindsay Wildlife Museum
1931 First Ave



San Francisco Christmas Walk

Do you think of Christmas decorations in San Francisco as Macy's windows and Union Square? Are you suburban types longing for an adventure? Then you are in for a treat. Please plan to join us for a guided tour of the San Francisco holiday scene you have probably never before experienced. Tom Filcich, who regularly leads walking tours of San Francisco for the College of Marin, will be our guide to places most of us never see - at least not during the holidays. We plan to meet under the clock tower at the Ferry Building at 10 a.m. During our three-hour walking tour, we will explore the new Ferry Building, visit hotel lobbies, and see business decorations that you never dreamed existed. We will end our tour with lunch, at your own expense, at the San Francisco center, which offers a variety of choices and prices - not to mention shopping opportunities. After that, you are on your own to shop or return home at your leisure. The cost is $18 per person and our group is limited to 30 people. Dust off your comfortable walking shoes and plan to join us on Friday, December 10, 2004 for a holiday experience you will not soon forget.

Date: Friday, December 10, 2004
Time: 10:00 am
Deadline: November 15, 2004 (limited to 30 participants)
Price: $18.00 per person

Directions: Ferry Building Clock Tower, Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street, San Francisco. The Ferry Building is best reached using public transportation. Marinites can take the 9:15 Larkspur Ferry. Those with access to BART or MUNI can take either to the Embarcadero Station. The historic trolley cars (Line F Market) stop directly in front of the Ferry Building. If you must drive, there are parking lots at the north end of the Ferry Building at Pier ½ and the Pier 3 Washington at Embarcadero Lot. There is limited metered parking on area surface streets. There is also a reasonably priced parking lot at Bay and Embarcadero near Pier 33 but you will have a bit of a hike to the Ferry Building.

Links to:
Golden Gate Transit

Larkspur Ferry

[ Yahoo! Maps ]
Map to the Ferry Building
San Francisco


Teaching Excellence
Call for Nominees

Scholarship and teaching go hand in hand. Nearly everyone who cares about the life of the mind can remember at least one teacher, and perhaps many more, who made a special contribution to his or her development. And experts are never quite sure of their expertise until they have tried teaching what they know to others. For these reasons, among others, PBKNCA vigorously encourages excellence in teaching. In pursuit of this principle, PBKNCA has for many years made annual Excellence in Teaching Awards. Each award consists of a handsome certificate and a $500 honorarium. Any member of PBK may make nominations. Eligible nominees are faculty members of the seven universities and colleges in Northern California that harbor PBK Chapters.

Please make a nomination for a 2005 Teaching Award. The application form is available here, and is printed on page 2 of this newsletter, or it may be obtained by contacting me. Applications are due late fall, but please make them now while memory is fresh. To nominate a teacher, fill out the form including an account of why you think a nominee deserves recognition as an outstanding teacher. Mail the forms to me.

Teaching Excellence Chair top

Scholarship Committee

This year, thanks to the generosity and hard work of our members, the Scholarship Committee awarded eight $4,000 scholarships to eight talented young scholars and scientists.

The 2004 recipients are:

Jeremy Cholfin, Neuroscience , UC San Francisco
Rebecca Fox, Animal Behavior, UC Davis
Eleanory Gilburd, Russian History, UC Berkeley
Lisa Lital Levy**, Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley
Yamina Ohol, Biochemistry, UC San Francisco
Ellen Samuels, English, UC Berkeley
Jennifer Scappettone*, English, UC Berkeley
Akrit Sodhi Singh, Comparative Pathology, UC Davis

Second Vice President – Scholarship

*The Norall Family Scholarship in Memory of Robbertina Riley
**Elizabeth Reed Awardtop

Chapter Liaison

By the end of the 2003-2004 academic year, the Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa distributed over 1000 initiation packets to the seven campuses in our region. These packets contained a welcome letter of information by our president, an introductory subscription to our newsletter and a nomination form for the Teaching Excellence Award.

Initiations have taken place at Mills College, University of California at Davis, University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, Santa Clara University, and Stanford University. The PBKNCA is indebted to the dedication of Ms. Dianne Wright at the University of California at Santa Cruz for ensuring our initiation packets reach the initiates and maintaining a direct connection with our efforts.

Many thanks to Jean James, Letitia Sanders, Marijane Osborn, Jacqueline Dever Celenza, Mary Gilliland, and Mary Hanel, who so graciously assisted me in representing the Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa, and made it possible for PBK NCA to be in two places at once, since many initiations are often scheduled on the same date.

Phi Beta Kappa of Northern California representatives are always enthusiastically received. The time-consuming efforts of the officers of the campus Phi Beta Kappa chapters, who work diligently to disseminate our information to the nominees for initiation, are greatly appreciated. Meeting the initiates who represent great hope for the future is inspiring, and full of intellectual surprises.

Congratulations to all the supporting members of the Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa who make this role a privilege and a joy.

PBKNCA Chapter Liaisontop

Asilomar 2005

Administration building at AsilomarMark your calendars now and plan to spend Presidents' Day Weekend with Phi Beta Kappa at lovely Asilomar in Pacific Grove. We start our retreat on Friday, February 18, and end on Monday, February 21. For those of you who have never heard of Asilomar, or have never been there before, Asilomar is a state conference center in Pacific Grove, a small enclave between Monterey and Carmel. This year's Presidents' Day weekend will be PBKNCA's nineteenth consecutive Asilomar experience. Our retreat / conference always begins with dinner Friday evening and ends with lunch on Monday. During the long weekend, we provide a mix of interesting, thought-provoking speakers and activities, as well as ample free time to enjoy the lovely seaside atmosphere. People who work sometimes come late and leave early. It is even possible to "skip" some programs, as no one takes attendance or gives exams. And because some of you wanted to know: Dress is very casual.

The main goal of our conference is for us to enjoy ourselves in a beautiful setting, but our secondary goal is to raise money for scholarships. The $100 per person registration fee is used to cover conference costs (speakers' expenses, a.v. equipment rental, wine with Sunday dinner, postage, duplicating, office supplies, etc.). This past year's profits enabled us to fund almost three graduate scholarships. (And for those of you who attended in 2004 and missed this information in the April newsletter, $83.26 of the 2004 $100 registration fee is fully tax deductible.)

How much does Asilomar cost besides the $100 registration fee? The 2005 pricing is $324.38 per adult, double occupancy; single occupancy, $526.70; youth (ages 3-17), $189.62. This includes three nights' lodging, and all meals, beginning with dinner on Friday and ending with lunch on Monday. Asilomar handles all room reservations.

Although there are still some refinements to be made for Asilomar 2005, we already have a strong program lined up, utilizing some of our own considerable PBKNCA in-house talent. First, Marijane Osborne, UC Davis professor and recipient of one of this year’s Teaching Excellence awards has agreed to make a presentation on Robinson Jeffers. In addition, Joanne and Don Sandstrom will talk to us about altering their lives by sailing around the world with their children. Next, Calvin Wood will share with us his experiences as a weapons inspector in Iraq after the first Gulf War. We even have our members’ children involved: Betsy Gilliland, daughter of Mary and Chet Gilliland and a ’95 Brown Phi Bete herself, will speak about her Peace Corps and other experiences in Uzbekistan.

New for 2005: A Monterey Movie Tour. Offered to the first 32 people who sign up and costing approximately $50, this three-hour tour will travel to many of the famous movie sites located in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, and Carmel. Participants will be able to watch the scenes that were filmed at their exact locations on overhead monitors on board a luxury motor coach while hearing behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the movies and famous movie stars. You might even be moved to sing along to some of your favorite show tunes! This tour is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, February 20. If you want more information about this trip, visit their website. Those of you who do not wish to participate will have a free afternoon to shop, hike, visit the Monarch butterfly sanctuary, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the National Steinbeck Center or whatever else captures your interest. (If you do wish to participate in the bus tour, please fill out the coupon below and return it to me as soon as possible.)

Tor House: Since Marijane Osborne is talking about Robinson Jeffers, some of you might be interested in a visit to Tor House, Jeffers’ residence located on Carmel Point and built by his own hands from granite boulders collected on the beach. Tor House conducts docent-led tours only on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Since they limit the group size to 6, it was impossible for me to arrange a tour for us. However, I thought some of you might want to visit this interesting place (I have done it twice!) before you come to Asilomar, after the Saturday morning program, or during the free Saturday afternoon. If so, you must make your own reservations by calling (831) 624-1813 Monday – Thursday from 9 - 1, or (831) 624-1840 Friday and Saturday from10 – 4. Their email address is; their website is [If you decide to tour Tor House on Saturday, you might want to request a box lunch from Asilomar to take with you; be sure to do this 48 hours in advance.]

The final program for Asilomar 2005 will be published in the November newsletter. But as those of you know who have attended Asilomar in the past, it really does not matter who the speakers are. The lovely setting and the extremely interesting attendees are what make our retreat truly special.

Now that you know about Asilomar in general and this year in particular, we hope that you will mark your calendars and join us for next year's conference, which will begin on Friday, February 18. If you attended Asilomar 2004 and enjoyed yourself, please let your fellow Phi Betes know and encourage them to join us in 2005. (Guests are also welcome.) Just fill out the coupon on p.6 of the hardcopy of the newsletter and send me your registration fee. As soon as I receive your check, I will send you the Asilomar housing form. (Again, Asilomar handles all room reservations.)

For those of you who very generously gave me your deposit in February, you do not need to fill out the coupon. (If you wish to participate in the bus tour, however, you will need to fill out that coupon.) By the time you receive this newsletter, you should have already received the Asilomar housing forms. If you have not (or cannot remember if you have) given me a deposit, please call or email me.

Asilomar Chair

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