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New York Times Writer/Editor to Speak

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

SPARTANBURG, SC—New York Times space and science writer/editor John Noble Wilford will be the guest speaker for the Phi Beta Kappa Day convocation at Wofford College on Tuesday, April 16, at 11 a.m.

The event will be in Leonard Auditorium in Main Building and is free and open to the public.

Wofford professor Dr. Alliston Reid will be inducted as an alumnus initiate, along with 27 students and recent graduates in the Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony to be held at 3 p.m. that day in the Papadopoulos Building.

A Pulitzer Prize winner in 1984 for his science writing, and again in 1987 as a member of the team that covered the aftermath of the Challenger space shuttle disaster, Wilford has been a space and science writer as well as an editor with the New York Times since 1965. He has covered all the major space programs, including the Apollo moon landings, the shuttle and the missions to distant planets. He also writes extensively on paleontology, archaeology and other scientific subjects.

As a reporter, Wilford traveled throughout the world. He flew through the eye of a hurricane to get a story on cloud seeding, submerged in research submarines, operated lunar landing and space shuttle simulators, worked with a mapping party on the floor of the Grand Canyon and a fossil-hunting expedition in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia.

Wilford’s first book, “We Reach The Moon,” published in 1969, was a definitive account of the Apollo project, and won the 1970 book award of the Aviation-Space Writers Association. He was the editor of “Scientists at Work,” published in 1979, a collection of articles on the creative process of science. In 1981 he published “The Mapmakers,” the story of cartography. His next book, published in 1985, was “The Riddle of the Dinosaur,” an account of how dinosaurs were discovered and the theories of their rise and fall. His most recent books are “Mars Beckons,” published in 1990, and “The Mysterious History of Columbus,” published in 1991.

Wilford’s honors also include the National Space Club’s Press Award of 1974 and the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Westinghouse Science Writing Award of 1983. He was the McGraw Distinguished Lecturer in Writing at Princeton University in 1985 and a professor of science journalism at the University of Tennessee in 1989 and 1990.

Wilford grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee, the son of a Methodist minister. During his early college summers, he was a reporter on his hometown paper in Paris, Tenn. In later summers he became a reporter for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. After graduating from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1955 with a bachelor of science degree in journalism, he went on to earn a master of arts degree in political science at Syracuse University.

He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Nancy.

Only 266 four-year colleges in the United States have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Wofford received its chapter at the 1940 triennial meeting, bringing to fruition more than 10 years of work by three Phil Beta Kappa members who were serving on the faculty—President Henry Nelson Snyder, Dr. David Duncan Wallace (class of 1894) and Dr. John West Harris (class of 1916). Harris, a vigorous campaigner for Wofford being awarded a chapter, later founded the National Beta Club, still headquartered in Spartanburg.

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary; it was the first of the Greek letter fraternities. The organization is devoted to the principles of “friendship, morality, and literature (or learning).” With more than 350,000 members across the country, Phi Beta Kappa today sponsors numerous programs to encourage scholarship and learning, including the Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards and the visiting scholar, academic fellowship and leadership programs.
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Phi Beta Kappa Student/Recent Graduate Initiates

Bradley Scott Amerson, a senior biology major, Rock Hill, SC
Chase Todd Bannister, a senior English major, Anderson, SC
Lisa Hancock Cameron, a senior history and art history major, Spartanburg, SC
Blake Fitzpatrick Derrick, a senior biology major, Columbia, SC
Michael Patrick Echemendia, a senior government and Spanish major, Dunwoody, SC
Jennifer Noel Evanko, a senior government and German major, Elizabethtown, PA
Benjamin James Foster, a senior biology major, Kennesaw, GA
William Joseph Hutto, a senior English and religion major, Orangeburg, SC
Amy Michelle Imfeld, a senior finance and French major, Jacksonville, FL
Jennifer Lynn Imfeld, a senior finance and French major, Jacksonville, FL
Omar M. Javery, a junior biology and Spanish major, Duncan, SC
Shahid M. Javery, a senior biology major, Duncan, SC
William Reamer Johnson, a senior finance major, Lake City, SC
Kyliene Lee Keesley, an alumna sociology and economics major, Edgefield, SC
Charles Bailey King Jr., a senior finance major, Hickory, NC
Rachael Anne Mahaffey, an alumna history and government major, Spartanburg, SC
Hannah Khristin Metts, a senior sociology and religion major, Newberry, SC
Alison Victoria Nunnally, a senior English and history major, Zephyr Cove, NV
Joseph D. Perry, a senior economics and history major, Lynchburg, VA
Angela Gail Pierce, a junior biology and Spanish major, Florence, SC
Lowry Darby Plexico III, an alumnus economics major, Columbia, SC
William Hardwick Rhodes, a senior psychology major, Spartanburg, SC
Brianne Whitney Thrasher, a senior English major, Athens, GA
Kalen Steel Walton, a senior accounting major, Spartanburg, SC
Sara Elizabeth Wise, a senior psychology major, Columbia, SC
Miranda Lynn Worster, a senior biology major, Honea Path, SC
Pamela Lee Zollinger, a senior biology major, Spartanburg, SC

Alumnus Initiate
Dr. Alliston K. Reid, an alumnus psychology major and now professor and chairman of the Wofford College department of psychology, Spartanburg, SC