Wake Forest President Makes Founders Day Special As GC Renews Pursuit of Phi Beta Kappa Standards

Tuesday’s Founders Day was perhaps the most significant for President Bill Crouch in his nearly two decades at Georgetown College because the presence of Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch signals a renewed push for Phi Beta Kappa standards.

“Having the leader of a Phi Beta Kappa institution here made for an incredible couple of days,” President Crouch said. “Dr. Hatch is the first of this caliber speaker from such (PBK) schools that I plan to bring to campus to help us on our journey.”

Dr. Hatch, who became the 13th president of Wake Forest in 2005, was Provost of another PBK institution – the University of Notre Dame – for the nine years before that. Plus, as one of the most influential scholars in the study of the history of religion in America, he has great insight on what Georgetown College might be up against in its PBK quest while staying true to its Christian heritage.

“Questions about the College’s religious issues could be thorny,” said Hatch after his Founders Day address. Then, noting that he hasn’t been involved in the Phi Beta Kappa process personally, he added, “But, I think you’ll get there. Clearly, Georgetown College has that trajectory.”

Monday evening, President Hatch had dinner in the Ensor LRC’s Fireside Room with President Crouch, Provost Rosemary Allen and 15 faculty members who are actively engaged in improving the quality of liberal arts education at Georgetown College. The next day, he said, “It’s evident the faculty is a keen intellectual community with an innovative style of shaping a liberal arts curriculum – which is what Phi Beta Kappa is all about. They’re dedicated, impressive.”

Dr. Allen said, “I think all of us at Monday’s dinner were encouraged by Dr. Hatch’s affirmation of our continued commitment to improve our liberal arts curriculum at Georgetown College. He helped us gain new perspective on the value of our ongoing commitment to challenging our students to reach for academic excellence.”

She added, “For me, simply having Dr. Hatch come to campus was an encouragement to keep striving toward the goal of Phi Beta Kappa. As both a scholar and a leader, he helps set a standard toward which we can aspire.”

B.I. “Bill” Houston, Chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees, found considerable inspiration in the Wake president’s visit. “I’ve always had a passion that Georgetown College provides a Christ-focused education second to none…but I know that can be difficult when combined with trying to pursue Phi Beta Kappa,” said the Louisville business consultant. “But, whether we reach that status is not as important to me as the journey itself.”

DurDuring Tuesday’s service, an academic highlight came in the surprise announcement of Dr. Harold Tallant as the recipient of the Curry Award for Faculty Excellence. A professor of History, he is also a past Chairman of the five-person Faculty Committee. Dr. Allen said in her remarks (Curry-Tallant) that Tallant’s colleagues cited his “masterful job of managing this role.” She also pointed out that the faculty has further recognized Tallant’s leadership abilities as they’ve elected him to be the current chair of the GC faculty!

Also on this very special Founders Day, two significant men were inducted into the Georgetown College Hall of Fame:

Dr. Verlin Kruschwitz,, a widely recognized and highly respected Southern Baptist pastor and denomination leader who had a long tenure at the helm of Elizabethtown’s historic Severns Valley Baptist Church. A Georgetown College trustee from 1953-84, he was chairman of the board several times and received an honorary doctorate in ’74.

Joe Dan Osceola ’63, who would go on to being elected the youngest president of any Indian tribe in North America and founder of the United Southeastern Tribes and he served on the Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs under three Florida governors. Today, he is a businessman and serves as an Ambassador to the World for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the College in 2001.



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