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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

Fred Cate receives Phi Beta Kappa award

The morning he arrived in Denver for a Phi Beta Kappa’s council meeting, Fred Cate, IU vice president for research, found out he would receive an award that night.

Cate was awarded the society’s President’s Award and Judith F. Krug Medal on Oct. 8 after participating in the Phi Beta Kappa 
Society since 1984.

“I was really astonished,” Cate said. “I was actually quite speechless, partly because I never thought I’d be receiving an award like that.”

The award, created in 2009, is designed to recognize people who do extraordinary things for the society and the mission of advancing the liberal arts and sciences, Cate said.

Along with the President’s Award comes the Krug medal, named after Judith F. Krug, a woman who fought for freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry and a woman whom Cate knew well.

“She was a formidable person, and it was a remarkable thing to think that I would have this honor that bore her name,” Cate said.

Cate was elected president of Phi Beta Kappa in 2009.

As president, Cate exhibited great diplomacy, grace and humane and practical insight, Katherine Soule, current president of Phi Beta Kappa, said in an IU press release.

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William & Mary and now has chapters at 283 universities, including IU, according to the Phi Beta Kappa website.

The award also means a lot for the liberal arts and sciences, Cate added.

“It’s meant a lot to me to, you know, see this visible demonstration that the fight for the liberal arts and sciences is alive and well,” Cate said.

Learning about the liberal arts and sciences, such as history, statistics or Shakespeare, is important to make a life, Cate said.

“The other, and much more important thing, you know, there are a lot of people today who question why we need the liberal arts and sciences,” Cate said. “And, I think those things really do matter. They’re what make a life, not just a career.”

Along with Cate, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough received an award from Phi Beta Kappa in Denver.

McCullough is a reminder of why liberal arts and sciences are 
important, Cate said.

“This is the perfect demonstration of why an education should be about helping you form a life not just a career, you know, something you can still use in your 80s, long after you’re retired from your job or the job has changed dramatically because of technology or something else,” Cate said.

After joining the society during his time at Stanford University and serving on the governing board for 20 years, Cate said this award means a lot to him.

“On the one hand, it feels like a sort of recognition of a type of service that I really enjoyed but also really cared about because I care about what Phi Beta Kappa does,” Cate said.

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