Founded by feisty females, PTK Honor Society continues to serve Craig and Rangely |

Founded by feisty females, PTK Honor Society continues to serve Craig and Rangely

Sasha Nelson

— Phi Theta Kappa is one of the largest honor societies at two-year colleges. It was started in 1918 and was led by a woman for 50 years.

“I feel it had a lot to do with women coming into their own with education,” said Darby McDermott, Colorado Northwestern Community College administrative assistant for nursing, Phi Theta Kappa member and advisor.

Margaret (Mosal) James was elected president of Phi Theta Kappa in 1930 and she served as chief executive for 50 years before retiring in 1985, according to

James led at a time when women did not usually serve in top leadership roles.

Her accomplishments included developing the Phi Theta Kappa hug — a greeting still used today —to allow James to move through large crowds quickly, said Gayle Wyatt, former associate director.

Women continue to lead as advisors of the local chapters in Craig and Rangely, however since 1926 men have been welcome.

“We now have quite a few men in Phi Theta Kappa,” McDermott.

Phi Theta Kappa are three Greek words that mean: “wisdom,” “aspiration” and “purity.”

“These are traits you bring in or carry out as your leave your community college,” said Leana Cox, CNCC library learning resource center coordinator and Phi Theta Kappa co-advisor.

Members are provided with many opportunities.

“It is an honor society you join and are a member for life. And there life long benefits such as scholarships and insurance discounts,” Cox said.

They also strive to help members develop important skills.

“I’ve learned a lot of organizing skills. I’ve gotten better at making contact, following-up and getting the resources that I need to fulfill my job,” said Kendra Brown, who will graduate from CNCC’s Equine Studies and Management program this spring.

The society works to create community connections and give back, two reasons Brown decided to join.

“I wanted to be involved in the community here. I had a lot of ideas for fundraisers and to help out in the community,” Brown said.

This year CNCC chapters decided to encourage membership by lowering the required GPA from 3.5 to 3.0.

On Feb. 28 between 18 to 30 students are expected to be inducted into the Beta Epsilon Tau (Rangely) Chapter of the honor society.

Then on March 10 and 11 Rangely will hold the Rocky Mountain regional conference providing a boost to the local economy and recruiting new students.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students who might not know what they want to do (to visit CNCC),” Cox said. “They might come and fall in love with our programs and region.”

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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