Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association, Inc.

November 2006 Newsletter

PBKNCA home page

From the President

Dear Fellow Phi Betes:

As the days shorten, and the rain begins, our thoughts turn toward making holiday plans. Before you relegate this newsletter to the bottom of the "To Do" pile and get too involved in all your year-end activities, please take a moment to join PBK NCA. You may not realize that all current memberships expire on Dec. 31, 2006. And some of you may think you have already joined our Association, as you have already sent a check to National. (See "Membership Fact Sheet", page 7, in this newsletter.) If you did not receive a September newsletter, it was because you had not paid your 2006 dues. And if you did receive a September newsletter, it contained an unauthorized insert. (See the article titled “Another Envelope?” to the right.)

But that glitch aside, why should you part with $30 in dues? Or even contribute more? Membership in our Association is an opportunity to help fund scholarships and teaching excellence awards, meet new people, attend enjoyable, intellectually stimulating programs, and benefit from being part of an award-winning organization. Membership contributions and participation in our programs are fundamental to our success. 

Because volunteers run our Association, your contributions directly benefit our scholarship and teaching excellence recipients. A list of these extraordinarily talented teachers and scholars appears on page 3. Your generous support in the past year enabled us to distribute more scholarship money at our Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner than ever before. (See Letitia Sanders' article, below) We hope to make this coming year every bit as successful.

If you were a paid up member of PBK NCA for 2006, your September newsletter included an erroneous membership envelope. Even though there was no mention of this insert in the newsletter, and the year printed and the amount requested were both incorrect, some of you dutifully sent in your dues .

What happened was that our printer made an error. Apparently, some employee found an old box of our membership envelopes from 2005 and, without checking with us, included them in our September newsletter. Needless to say, we were more than a bit dismayed, not the least because 2005 dues were $25 and 2007 dues are $30.

For those of you who returned the envelope and included your check at the old dues' rate, thank you for your promptness. You are paid up for 2007. For the rest of you, please disregard any membership envelope you might have received in the September newsletter and return the one included in this issue. (Please note that we have included a new space for you to "opt out" of being included in our directory, which will be published again in 2008.)

, President

Facts about Membership

A common question about membership: "Didn't I already join the Association? I sent a check to Phi Beta Kappa in Washington, D.C." To clear up the confusion implicit in this question, here is a brief primer on the differences between the national Phi Beta Kappa Society and our Northern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society (PBK) in Washington, D.C.

Once you are initiated into Phi Beta Kappa - usually in your senior year in college - you become a lifetime member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The Society sends out yearly solicitations for donations and sustaining memberships in order to maintain its services at the national level. It also publishes a newsletter called The Key Reporter. The Society's website at provides an excellent source of additional information about the national organization.

Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Association (PBK NCA)

Today there are 58 active PBK alumni associations across the nation that support the aims of the national Society by promoting the value of a liberal arts education and awarding scholarships. Our Association, PBK NCA, ranks among the top in the nation, not only in the size of our membership, but also in the number of social activities we sponsor and in the amount of scholarship money that we distribute each year. National recognized our efforts by an award at the 2003 Triennial, and our Asilomar conference has been featured in articles in the 2006 summer and fall issues of The Key Reporter.

Our primary goals are twofold:

• Recognizing excellence in teaching by honoring professors who have been nominated by former students who belong to PBK. This past April at our Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner, we awarded certificates and honoria to five outstanding professors. 

• Helping outstanding graduate students by granting scholarships. In addition to honoring the professors, we awarded $60,000 in scholarships to 12 deserving students. (The professors and the students are listed on pages 2 and 3 of this newsletter.)

Our Board consists of hard-working, dedicated, and talented volunteers who run PBK NCA. Unlike National, we have no paid employees. That means the only significant costs we need to cover are postage and printing of our newsletters and every three years, a directory. Therefore, we are able to put our members' dues and donations directly into our scholarship and teaching excellence funds.

We also offer our members opportunities to get together socially, often for private tours of educational or cultural institutions. (See our tour offerings and our wonderful Asilomar Conference.) All of our events serve as social opportunities, as well as fundraisers for our scholarship program.

Any Phi Beta Kappan - even if initiated at a university in another state - is welcome to join the Northern California Association. In fact, many of our most active members were initiated into PBK at a college outside of California, so we would be delighted to get to know you.

Please join PBK NCA in 2007 by sending in the Membership envelope from your hard-copy Newsletter, or contact us here if you've lost your envelope.

2006 Excellence in Teaching Awards

PBK NCA has for many years made annual Excellence in Teaching Awards. Each award consists of a handsome certificate and a $500 honorarium. All members of  PBK NCA are encouraged to nominate a teacher who made a special contribution to their development. Eligible nominees are faculty members of the seven universities of Northern California that harbor PBK chapters: the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Davis, the University of California, Santa Cruz, Mills College, San Francisco State University, and Stanford University. Although the university at which the nominee teaches must have a PBK chapter, the nominees need not be a member of PBK. A copy of the nomination form appears on page two of the newsletter. It is also available on the  PBK NCA website.  I need completed applications before November 30, 2006. The Association presents the awards at the annual dinner in May 2007.

At the Annual Meeting in May 2006, we presented five $500 Teaching Excellence honoria to the following professors nominated by Phi Beta Kappa students:

William Parent, Dept. of Philosophy Santa Clara University
Don C. Price, Dept. of History UC Davis
Neil E. Schore, Dept. of Chemistry UC Davis
David Stronach, Dept. of Near Eastern Studies UC Berkeley
Darren Zook, Dept. of Political Science UC Berkeley

, Chair, Teaching Excellence Committee

 Get the nomination form here

2006 Scholarship Winners

In 2006, the Scholarship Committee awarded a dozen scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each to graduate students at campuses in our area. We received applications from twenty-one students representing seven campus chapters. I thank the members of the Scholarship Committee (Jeff Fenton, Lynne Fovinci, Mary Gilliland, and Gerry Richards) for helping review the applications and make the difficult decisions needed to pare the list to the twelve outstanding students chosen. These students represent the highest standards of scholarship and exemplify PBK’s ideal. Special thanks to Maria and Burt Norall for funding a scholarship again this year.

Arthur William Bahr, English UC Berkeley, Norall Family Awardee
Brooke Erin Crowley, Earth Sciences UC Santa Cruz
Talissa Jane Ford, English UC Berkeley
Eleanor Bayne Johnson, English and Medieval Studies UC Berkeley
Lisa Ann Justice, History UC Davis
Andrew J. Koontz-Garboden, Linguistics Stanford
Charles Chia-hong Lin, Medicine UC SF
Darius Parke Ornston, Political Science UC Berkeley
Corinna Riginos, Ecology UC Davis, Elizabeth Reed Awardee
Brian J. Schulman, Medicine UC SF
Todd Stephen Sechser, Political Science Stanford
Jessica Lea Weeks, Political Science Stanford

, Second Vice President – Scholarships

Where did we get all that money for scholarships?

One of our long time members came up to me after the Annual Meeting last spring and asked me how we were able to award more scholarships this year, 12 to be exact, even though our membership had not grown proportionally larger in the last few years. There are several reasons why we were able to offer not only three more scholarships this year, but also were able to increase the amount awarded from $4000 to $5000 for each recipient. Although I am the membership VP, not scholarships VP, I feel able to explain the situation as membership and scholarships are directly related. After all, money from dues is the major source of the money awarded in our scholarships. Here are the main reasons why our scholarships increased this year.

First, this year as in certain past years, a special scholarship was again given by our loyal member Maria Norall and her husband Burt.

Second, you all realize that we raised our dues last year from $25 to $30. This was due to the national organization’s raising our assessment from $.50 to $2.00 per member.

Third, many of you were very generous this year and contributed much more than the minimum dues, with a large number of you giving us $50. 

Fourth, the bottom line is that we took in a lot more money this year while spending less. Good business, right? The explanation is a change made by the Board of Directors three years ago to our November membership campaign. For the purposes of simplicity, I have used rounded numbers rather than exact ones in this explanation. The Board discovered after a study that the costs of our large mailing each November had leaped to almost $15,000. In the past, we had been mailing to all members on our database (about 2000 each year) and also to a list that we requested from the National organization of all people in Northern California who had ever been initiated into Phi Beta Kappa. This list contained almost 30,000 names, including our own members. This mailing cost us over $15,000 and brought in only 118 new members. The Board realized that we could give out two new scholarships with the savings from curtailing this mailing. Finally, last year we limited the list of names from National to a more current list of only 10,000 members who had been in contact with them at some time within the last 3 years. This revised list resulted in almost 200 new members. The cost of this was only a little over $7,000 or one third of what the 30,000 would cost us today, considering all the cost of printing and mailing.

The Board’s decision has saved us enough to award more scholarships in the long run. Each year we again look at the total number of members we have on our local database and decide whether it is feasible to again mail to all the members National has on its database, which has risen to over 30,000 today. We can always do so if necessary.

At the present time, we have 2280 people listed in our local Northern California database, all of whose addresses appear to be current. Of those 1180 paid their dues last year to become active members.

So this has been a good year for our membership and for Phi Beta Kappa of Northern California. Let’s keep up the good work. Remember, almost all of our income does go to our scholarship program.


, Third Vice-President, Membership

Upcoming Events

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

Upcoming Activities:

At this time (12/22/06) we have six tours scheduled for 2007.

We’re beginning the new year with another tour of the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco in January. Attendees had such a good time last year that we thought it would bear repeating, and indeed we are already fully subscribed.

In February, we plan to visit one of the most unusual facilities anywhere, the San Francisco Bay Model, located in Sausalito. Although many Bay Area residents are familiar with its existence, relatively few persons seem to have actually visited this unusual installation, a facility of the US Government. Here’s your chance! And of course, the Annual Asilomar Conference Feb 16-Feb 19.

The home of the Leland Stanford family in Sacramento has been restored to its nineteenth century splendor and arrangements have been made for our guided tour during the month of March. Of course, Leland Stanford had also lived in San Francisco, on Nob Hill, where the Stanford Court Hotel is now located.

In April, a tour of the Railroad Museum in old Sacramento is planned. A related short movie is also part of that tour. One of the features of this exhibit is a completely restored dining-room car. Other restorations included the great locomotives that chugged over the Sierra Nevada range.

In May a walking tour of Chinatown, sponsored by City Guides, has been scheduled.

In June, we are looking forward to another Paul Cooney guided tour of the City, this time of Nob Hill. Those of you who had the pleasure of joining Paul for his guided tour of the Antique Victorians of Alamo Square recall with pleasure his encyclopedic knowledge of the area, as well as of the relevance of his handouts. In addition to being a fellow Phi Bete, Paul is a key person in the San Francisco Library-based City Guides program.

Please try to be on time for these tours, especially the walking tours, to avoid being left behind!

Finally, please keep in mind the date, Sunday, May 6, the date of our annual dinner at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club.

See you at Asilomar this February.
Respectfully submitted,
, First Vice President - Programs

PBKNCA Holiday tourSan Francisco Holiday Walk - Friday, December 8, 2006

This is the fourth year of one of our most popular programs.
In describing the details of the walk, with Jean James’ permission, I’m going to repeat, with some personal modifications, part of her enthusiastic description of this highly successful event!
Are you under the impression that Christmas decorations are just a few features of Macy’s window? Bestir yourself! Come join us for a guided tour of the uncommon holiday decorations in San Francisco. Our guide again will be Tom Filcich, an experienced tour guide for the College of Marin. We’ll visit many sites not usually included in ones daily routine. The artistry and design of many of these decorations demonstrate the virtuosity of their creators, and truly constitute a visual feast. Like Cleopatra, they are “of infinite variety.” In addition to the buoyant spirit of the holiday season, the walk enables one to become acquainted with a number of the major buildings and institutions, which play so vital a role in the life and commerce of San Francisco. The history of the individuals who inspired and built some of them will be mentioned. Be on the lookout for the portraits of two famous nineteenth century gentlemen, magnificent in their bearded state, Mr. Wells and Mr. Fargo, adorning the wall of the institution which they founded. Tom is very well informed, and welcomes questions.

We will meet in the atrium of the Ferry Building, near the Peet’s Coffee location, at 10:00 A.M., and make our way to Union Square. At the conclusion of the walk, those who wish to do so may dine at one of the many restaurants in the area, or do some holiday shopping. Lunch is not included in the fee.

Date: Friday, December 8, 2006
Time: 10:00 A.M.

Location: Ferry Building atrium, near Peet’s Coffee
Minimum number of attendees 15
Maximum number of attendees 35
Deadline for registration: November 25th
Fee: $ 25.00
Ferry Building area parking slots will be expensive and hard to find.
From the South Bay, there is the Cal Train choice, then “walk” or take Muni to the meeting place.
From the East Bay, Bart is always the preferred choice, exiting at the Embarcadero station, and walking over to the Ferry Building fairly close by.
From Marin, there is the Golden Gate Transit bus or the Ferry from Larkspur.
From the city itself, there are many buses going to the Terminal.
Information regarding all San Francisco Muni bus lines can be readily obtained by dialling 415-673-6864 or on the web (below). Tom suggests arriving early, in plenty of time to leave on the walk at 10:00 AM. Be sure to wear your most comfortable shoes!

Links to:

Golden Gate Transit
Larkspur Ferry

Anchor BrewingAnchor Brewing Company Tour - Thursday, January 11, 2007

Come sign up for what has been one of our most enjoyable and informative tours ,
the venerable (1896) Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco. Although
limited to a maximum of twenty persons, and to weekdays, since the Brewery is closed
on weekends, the popularity of the tour was self evident. Accordingly, we decided to
repeat the tour this year.

The tour is conducted by a member of the Brewery staff, who is most knowledgeable, which is fortunate since beer making is a very old industry.. One soon learns that there are a multitude of varieties of beers and ales. The facility is spotless and immaculate, and most impressive.

The tour lasts about two hours, involves some walking, and tasting of the various beverages is offered.

Maximum registration: (adults only) 20
Minimum registration: 10
Date: Thursday, January 11, 2007
Time: 1:00 PM, but assemble by 12:45 PM

Deadline: December 31, 2006
Fee: Ten dollars
Location: 1705 Mariposa Street, at the corner of de Haro, San Francisco
Directions are available on their website

Bay ModelSan Francisco Bay Area Model Tour - February 6, 2007
A good website is here

Come join us in exploring the Model of the San Francisco Bay Area. We have arranged for a guided tour in early February. The Bay Model is a most remarkable learning facility dedicated to explaining the geography, the ecology and the human and natural history of the San Francisco Bay and Delta around which we live and probably largely take for granted.

The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for most of the dredging and filling projects around the Bay, maintains the Bay Model in one of the original Marinship warehouses. The model is a two acre functional scale model of the entire Bay and Delta region, built originally to test bay fill projects, such as the Reber Plan, and which is now used primarily as an educational display. It is the only remaining, intact, and functioning hydraulic model of this size in America, and it shows the whole of the Bay and Delta region, surrounded by displays and kiosks.

Explanation of the tidal action, and the currents and eddies become more relevant as we recall the disastrous Tsunami which occurred in Asia recently. The Model provides a dynamic example of the various natural phenomena affecting our coastline. The Model is located close to Sausalito, and is best reached by automobile. After visiting the Model, we will have a much better appreciation of the unique area in which we live.

Date: Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Time: 10:00 am

Deadline: January 25, 2007
Minimum number: 10
Maximum number: 30
Price: $ 10.00 per person
Directions: Accessible primarily by automobile. See Google maps

Coming from the South, take US 101, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, past Waldo Hill and take the Sausalito-Marin City exit on the right to Bridgeway which runs through the city of Sausalito. Take a left turn into West Harbor Drive, go about fifty feet and turn right into Marin Shipway. Look for signs mentioning the Bay Model Center. Coming from the North, one would take the Sausalito –Marin City exit on the right, then turn left immediately after exiting the freeway. Parking is free.

Annual Asilomar Conference - February 16-19, 2007. See details below

Stanford HomeStanford Mansion Tour - Saturday, March 3, 2007

One of the truly historic sites of California history is located in the former home of Leland and Jane Stanford. As a result of the efforts of a foundation, formed to restore the home as it was in the 1860's and 1870's, we now have an opportunity to experience the home as the Stanfords knew it in their lifetime. Interactive exhibits, artifacts and an orientation film are part of the visitors' legacy. One may observe many of the original furnishings of the Stanfords, the polished wood paneling, gilded mirrors, and crystal chandeliers. Visitors are also welcome to stroll through the Victorian Garden surrounding the Mansion.

Date: Saturday, March 3, 2007 Time: 1:00 PM
Deadline: February 21, 2007, Maximum number 50 Minimum number 10
Price: $15.00 Checks should be made payable to PBK NCA

Directions: Take I-80 east until reaching the Pioneer Bridge which crosses the Sacramento River. Take I-5 N exit toward Redding, and look for the Q Street exit. Take the latter exit, and continue all the way on Q Street until you reach Eighth Street. The Mansion is located on the corner of Eighth and N Street. For directions from your home, see Google Maps.

Location: 800 N Street, at the corner of Eighth and N Streets, in downtown Sacramento, two blocks west of the State Capitol. Enter through the gate on N Street, Follow the brick path to the Visitors Center at the rear of the property.
Parking on Saturday is said to be readily available, since State employees are not competing for parking on weekends.

Train MuseumRAILROAD MUSEUM TOUR IN OLD SACRAMENTO - Friday, April 20, 2007

All Aboard for the Railroad Museum! History buffs, and non-history buffs, you're all welcome! Come visit one of the renowned Museums in all of California, the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. Even those of you who have never experienced the fun of traveling on a Pullman car as a youngster, hauled by a steam locomotive chugging away, punctuated by the lonesome and haunting warning of the train as it approached automobile intersections, you'll love this visit to California's and America's past. With the advent of the transcontinental railroad, following the Gold Rush, the trials and tribulations of crossing the continent in a covered wagon became a thing of the past. The transcontinental railroad project took place largely during President Lincoln's administration, but the event was clearly overshadowed by the Civil War. (Lincoln, himself, had been an attorney for the Illinois Central Railroad).

The construction of the railroad was accompanied by many collateral events, including the importation of Chinese workers who played a vital and valuable road in its construction, the development of locomotives powerful enough to scale the mountain ranges of the great west, and the culmination of the joining of the two railroads, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, with the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory, Utah in 1869. (The Golden Spike National Historic Site is now part of the National Park Service).

Our tour begins with a movie, followed by a tour of the exhibits. The great locomotives of the past have been lovingly restored. Special features are the Pullman dining car and the Pullman sleeping car. Don't miss this tour!

Date: Friday, April 20 Time: 11 :00 AM Meeting Place: Lobby of the Railroad Museum, across from the Parking Lot, in Old Sacramento. The public parking garages located at either end of Old Sacramento are recommended over the on-street sites, which are limited to 90 minutes.
Directions: Directions are available here.

Another website is here

Minimum Number: 10 Maximum Number 50 Fee: $ 20.00

PBKNCA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner - Sunday, May 6, 2007

UC Berkeley faculty ClubAnnual Meeting at the Join the PBK NCA Board in celebrating this year’s accomplishments in the charming setting and collegial atmosphere of the UC Berkeley Faculty Club. Take this opportunity to renew old acquaintances and meet and be inspired by the dedication and achievements of our scholarship and teaching excellence award winners.

Social hour begins at 4 p.m. and dinner will be served at about 5 p.m. Choose between salmon, roast prime rib of beef, or vegetarian. No-host bar during social hour but dinner will include house wine, coffee or tea, plus salad and dessert in addition to your pre-selected entrée which comes with rice or potatoes and seasonal vegetables. You will note that there has been a slight fee increase this year, necessitated by our increased cost. Remember that the fee includes not only dinner but also wine, parking and gratuity.

Date: Sunday, May 6, 2007
Time: 4 – 8 pm

Deadline: Sunday, April 8, 2007
Price: $55.00 (includes parking)
Directions: The Faculty Club is on the campus of UC Berkeley (University Avenue exit off I-80). About a week before the dinner, registrants will be mailed a “Faculty Club notecard” that will include driving directions and a foldout campus map with parking instructions.

ChinatownChinatown Walking Tour, Saturday May 19, 2007

On the web at SFGate

What could be more San Franciscan than its Chinatown, the largest enclave of its kind outside of Asia? Come join us for a walking tour, led by a City Guide expert. We will visit the side streets and alleys of this colorful section of the City.

Learn about the family associations, the sewing shops, and other community organizations. Visit the live markets with their chickens and turtles, and the produce markets; view the famous Chinatown Gate, and check into some of the art galleries. Inquire of your guide regarding the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, and such fascinating Chinese style buildings as the Bank of America and the Bank of Canton.  Explore the shops offering a multitude of Chinese products. Check into the wide variety of Churches, and the better restaurants. City Guides are very well informed and welcome questions.

Date: May 19, 2007
Time: 11 AM

Place of assembly: Portsmouth Square (Washington and Kearny) upper level at flagpole near the elevators.
Minimum Number: 10
Maximum Number 25
Fee: $ 20.00 per person
Deadline for Registration: May 4, 2007

Traveling by Bart, get off at Embarcadero and either walk two short blocks via Drumm and Sacramento streets to the junction of Sacramento and Davis. Take a California 1 Bus to Portsmouth Square. Fares: Regular $1.50, Senior $0.50. Exact change needed.

By car, from the North, take 101 into the City where 101 becomes confluent with Van Ness, turn left into Clay Street and go up to Kearny. Portsmouth Square is at the junction of Clay and Kearny. Parking garages are available.

From the South, take 101 North to Van Ness, turn right on Clay and head toward Portsmouth Square at Kearny.

Cable Car - Nob HillNob Hill Walking Tour - Saturday, June 23, 2007

Come join our expert City Guide, and fellow Phi Bete, Paul Cooney, on a tour of San Francisco’s legendary site, Nob Hill. Famous hotels are to be found here, including the luxurious Huntington, the Fairmont, the Mark Hopkins, and the Stanford Court. Learn about the background of the men behind these institutions who amassed the wealth that enabled them to build these magnificent facilities. Other features include a great cathedral, the Pacific Club, and many other points of interest. Paul is a walking encyclopedia on the subject of San Francisco. He assures me that most of the walk is on a level surface, although it does involve one moderate grade. We will meet in front of the entrance to the Stanford Court Hotel. The hotel is on the corner of Powell and California, and the address is 905 California Street.

By car, from the north, take 101 South which runs along Lombard Street, continue on 101 by turning right into Van Ness; turn left on California Street. The hotel is on the corner of Powell and California, and the address is 905 California Street.

From the south, take 101 North to Van Ness, turn right on California, and follow the above directions from that point.
On-street parking is very difficult. There are several parking garages in the area. If one drives up Sacramento, a one way street, from Powell, one will note a public garage on the right hand side, very close to Mason. There is also a garage near the Huntington Hotel, the Crocker Garage. If you are feeling unusually lucky and must park on the street, take lots of quarters.

Coming from the East Bay on Bart, one could disembark at Embarcadero station, take the Drumm Street exit, and walk over to the intersection between Drumm and Davis, and catch a California 1 Muni which goes to Sacramento and Taylor. Taylor is just one block from Mason. Fares on the Muni system are $ 1.50 for adults under 65; 50 cents for seniors. Exact fare is required. Although one could take a Cable Car to Nob Hill, the fare is five dollars, and on Saturdays, the cable cars are crowded with tourists.

Date: Saturday, June 23, 2007
Time: 11:00 AM-Please be on time for all walking tours. Don’t be left behind !
Deadline: May 23, 2007
Minimum number: 10; maximum number: 20.
Fee: $ 20.00 per person
Meeting Place: Front Entrance to Stanford Court Hotel, 905 California, on the corner of Powell and California

Annual Asilomar Conference of PBKNCA

“Searching for Peace: Within, at Home, Abroad, and Beyond” - February 16-19, 2007

Administration building at Asilomar

Don’t forget our Presidents’ Day Weekend Conference at Asilomar on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Renew acquaintances and meet new Phi Betes, attend stimulating lectures and participate in lively discussions, indulge in good food, relax in peaceful surroundings, and help support our graduate student fellowships. Newcomers are welcome and members are invited to bring guests. (Read all about last year's Conference here)

This is a highlight of the year for many who enjoy the coast, the fellowship, the intellectual conversation, and the opportunity to contribute to PBK NCA graduate student fellowships. For the past several years, approximately 15% of the $100 registration fee has been used for actual conference expenses, with the remaining 85% being fully tax-deductible. The $8,800 in profit last year enabled us to fund the greater part of two of the $5,000 scholarships we awarded in April. 

Do not be deterred by winter. February on the peninsula with occasional showers is often more pleasant than the fog that settles in during summer months. After all, this is the time of the Monarch butterfly migration that fills many trees just a short walk from the conference site. There is ample opportunity to walk on the beach, tour the historic buildings designed by Julia Morgan, bicycle to Monterey, visit the shops in Carmel, or settle down with a good book around the roaring fire in Hearst Hall.

Our member Bob Baronian and his wife Dee Dee, who live in the area, have helped assemble an outstanding group of speakers on the theme “Searching for Peace: Within, at Home, Abroad, and Beyond.” A new feature will be T’ai Chi before breakfast with our member Diane Bishop. Our speakers will be Astronaut Dan Bursch on his missions in space, Professor and author Steve Fox on internal security in World War II, California State University Monterey Bay Dean Barbara Mossberg on John Muir, Tom McMurtry on his career as a Navy pilot in Vietnam to a test pilot at Edwards AFB and now filming aerial scenes for Hollywood, Stanford University’s David Patel on Iraq, Monterey Peninsula College instructor John Provost on the Muslim mind, Attorney Gillian Thackray (our member) on intellectual property, and poet Patrice Vecchione on spiritual writing. (Additional details about the speakers are in the previous Newsletter.)

Check in starts at 3 pm, Friday, February 16 in Hearst Social Hall. President Jean James will host a Reception for Newcomers at 5 p.m. in the Forest Lodge Suite. Dinner is served from 6 pm to 7 pm in Crocker Dining Hall, and our first program begins at 7:30 pm. The conference ends with lunch on Monday the 19th. Those who need to get an early start home on Monday may order a box lunch.

If you have not registered, it is not too late. Just complete the coupon on page 8of the hard-copy Newsletter, and mail it to me with your check to PBK NCA for $100 per person. I’ll send you the Asilomar housing form that you need to return to them with payment for your room and board. The 2007 housing and meal charges are $345.36 for each person in a double room and $557.37 for one person alone. If you need to contact Asilomar, you may speak with our coordinator, Pat Kauffman, and refer to conference number 21W2VK.

Since Asilomar releases rooms from the block reserved for us that are not paid for 60 days prior to our conference, you need to send your room and board fees to Asilomar no later than December 14. You may take a chance and pay your fees later, but that may be risky.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (707) 840-9094 or send me an email at

, Asilomar Chair

Notes about Asilomar

According to the website, the conference grounds are “nestled along the shoreline of California's famed Monterey Peninsula, a tranquil ocean front retreat cradled by forests and white sand beaches. Designed by acclaimed architect Julia Morgan and embracing the Arts & Crafts architectural style, the . . . center harmonizes with its natural surroundings and has played host to thousands of visitors since its founding in 1913.”

Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association, Inc.

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