Campus: CSU Fresno -- November 30, 2005
Phi Beta Kappa Scholars Program
Dr. Robert L. Patten will speak on behalf of Phi Beta Kappa’s Couper Scholars program
at California State University, Fresno on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005. His lecture is titled
“Liberal Arts for a Lifetime.”
The lecture, which is open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Alice Peters
Auditorium of the University Business Center, 5245 N. Backer Ave.
Patten, who is the Lynette S. Autrey Professor in Humanities at Rice University, is the
author of “George Cruikshank’s Life, Times, and Art,” which was named the best biography
of the 1990s by the Guardian of London. As a former Guggenheim fellow and Fulbright scholar,
he also has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the
National Humanities Center. He has written dozens of articles and reviews on 19th century
British literature, art, and culture. Patten graduated from Swarthmore College and earned
his doctorate at Princeton.
Phi Beta Kappa established the program in 2004 and named it after Richard W. Couper, who
was instrumental in helping BK receive its primary grant. A longtime champion of the liberal
arts and sciences, Couper is a former president of the New York Public Library and the Phi
Beta Kappa Fellows. The Mellon Foundation has provided financial support for this program
with a $100,000 grant.
During the academic year, two Couper Scholars will visit selected colleges and universities.
Each visit includes a lecture for undergraduates, informal discussions with students and
faculty members and a meeting with the dean of liberal arts and sciences.
Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. It has
chapters at 270 institutions, and half-million members throughout the country. Its mission
is to advocate education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence
and to foster freedom of thought and expression. Among the society’s programs are literary
and academic awards, lectureships, fellowships, a professorship and publication of The
American Scholar, an award-winning quarterly journal.