The first induction ceremony for Old Dominion University's chapter of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars (PBD) was held on Nov. 17.
The event was originally scheduled for April but was postponed due to COVID-19.
Senior International Officer Paul Currant and Associate Director of International Initiatives Rachawan Wongtrirat led the effort to establish the ODU PBD Gamma Chi chapter, with an eye toward recognizing international involvement at the University, in 2019. Founded in 1986 at the University of California, Long Beach, PBD has now more than 180 chapters and is recognized as the premier internationally oriented honor society in the United States.
"We had an excellent response from the beginning," Currant said, "and it was great to see the interest came equally from the students, faculty, and staff."
The event was was presided over by Provost Austin Agho, the president of ODU chapter.
"We were pleased to eventually have an opportunity to host our first induction ceremony," Wongtrirat said. "The event was part of the International Education Week, an opportunity to celebrate the importance of global education in all its facets."
In addition to its existing eight executive officers, the Gamma Chi chapter now has 29 new members, including its first honorary inductee. Interim Vice President of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services Don Stansberry was recognized for his extraordinary contribution and involvement with global education over many years at the University.
"The induction was just a foundation." Currant said. "We hope that PBD will become part of the fabric of ODU and an ongoing part of an increasingly international campus."
One of the inductees, Director of International Admissions Steve Risch, emphasized the student perspective.
"I felt it was important for faculty and staff to join the society, but the student perspective is, if anything, more important," he said. "It is not just a recognition, but an incentive for them to become actively involved in global education and global issues, and that can only benefit them and the campus community as a whole."
Other activities are planned for 2021, including a chapter meeting, themed international events and another induction ceremony.
Wongtrirat emphasized that the chapter is eyeing growth in all areas.
"The society is a point of Monarch pride and a perfect platform for globally minded faculty, administrator, staff and students, domestic as well as international and from all disciplines to connect, engage and collaborate," she said.
The PBD will soon accept nominations for spring 2021. To be considered, undergraduate students must have a GPA of at least 3.25 and graduate students 3.5, while faculty, administrators and staff need to have demonstrated contributions to and involvement in international endeavors.
"We have all been delighted at the response," Currant said, "and intend that our chapter of PBD will become one of the most active and influential in the country."