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St. Kate's Phi Beta Kappa inducts alum, 18 students into chapter

Cass Dalglish '66, signs the St. Kate's Phi Beta Kappa chapter roster.
Cass Dalglish '66, signs the St. Kate's Phi Beta Kappa chapter roster.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10

The Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at St. Catherine University inducted 19 new members into its membership Tuesday evening, including the first alumnae member since 1976.

At a reception prior to Phi Beta Kappa ceremonies, Dalglish was joined by St. Kate’s leadership, members of the Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and members of her family: husband Louis Branca, daughter and son-in-law Natasha and Ladric D’Schommer-Grant and sister, Judith Scheide.

A 1966 graduate of St. Catherine with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish, Dalglish is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and is a professor of English and women’s studies department at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

The author of three books, her first novel (1993), Sweetgrass, was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award, Nin (2000) chronicled a feminist poet’s search for the works of her dead mother, and Humming the Blues (2008) was a translation and jazz-inspired interpretation of the earliest signed poem (2350 BCE) “Nin-Me-Sar-Ra” that is attributed to a Sumerian female priest, poet and prince.   

St. Kate’s Chapter President Jill Welter, a biology professor, noted that the induction of an alumna member is even more rigorous than for student members.  They must have demonstrated a strong published record of academic achievement in a liberal arts discipline and their scholarly work must be reviewed be peer colleagues and then voted for in the affirmative by 80 percent of chapter members.

Describing her books and her unique interpretation of “Nin-Me-Sar-Ra” Welter said, “you move us, you inspire us!” 

A celebration of academic excellence

In ceremonies inside Coeur de Catherine’s Rauenhorst Hall and surrounded by faculty, families and friends, 16 seniors and two juniors joined Dalglish as 2011 Phi Beta Kappa members as they autographed the 74-year-old membership roster of the Gamma Chapter, the third chapter in Minnesota and the first chapter at a Catholic institution in the U.S.

Dalglish signed the alumnae section of the University’s Phi Beta Kappa membership log, directly underneath the signature of Sister Alberta Huber, CSJ (1917-2007), St. Kate’s sixth president (1964-1979).

Dalglish also keynoted the event and her remarks,  “She Turned Her Ear to the Great Unknown,” analyzed the Sumerian myth, “Descent of Inanna,” as a story about intellectual curiosity and the scholarly adventure.

In addition, Chapter Secretary Martha Phillips, professor of biology, joined Welter is honoring Chapter Treasurer Patricia Dunlop, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, for her twelve year effort serving as chapter secretary, ensuring that the election process always proceeded smoothly on behalf of the Gamma Chapter.

New members of Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma Chapter


Jordyn Arndt

Amber Barnes

Elizabeth Bernhardt

Caitlin Fellows

Emily Hanson

Kathryn Haugen

Allison Heasley

Sarah Hollow

Amy Johnston

Debra MacLeod

Erin McDonald

Shoshana Miller

Esther Moss

Rebecca Roepke

Kasie Rust

Janessa Schilmoeller


Teresa Hermodson-Olson

Elizabeth Pikula

 St. Kate’s seniors Caitlin Mans and Andrea Lund, who were inducted as juniors in 2010, joined the newly elected members in the celebration following the ceremony.

About Phi Beta Kappa

Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa was created to foster and recognize excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.  The organization has grown to include 280 chapters and more than 500,000 members across the United States.

Since 1937, St. Catherine University Phi Beta Kappa members have gone on to become medical doctors, lawyers and judges, college presidents, writers, musicians, high school teachers, peace activists, businesswomen and heads of religious organizations. Today membership in the University’s chapter stands at more than 1,000.

May 2, 2011 by Julie Michener

See also: Alumnae/i, Liberal Arts, Students