Dean Hasan Pirkul congratulates Matrice Ellis-Kirk, who spoke and was made an honorary member at the recent Beta Gamma Sigma induction ceremony. View more induction ceremony photos on Flickr.
The business honorary society Beta Gamma Sigma observes its 100th anniversary this year, and in keeping with that celebration, the speaker at the recent UT Dallas annual induction ceremony invoked wisdom from ages past that personally benefited her.
Keynoter Matrice Ellis-Kirk told the audience that she was raised by her great-grandmother and grandmother, women who had little education themselves but who “understood the power and the empowerment education brings.”
The remark resonated both among the inductees, Naveen Jindal School of Management students who had to be in top academic standing to earn an invitation to join the society, and among their supporters — faculty, families, friends, even bosses who attended their April 2 oath-taking.
In keeping with the tradition of the UT Dallas Beta Gamma Sigma chapter, Ellis-Kirk, the managing partner for Diversity and Inclusion Services in the Dallas office of the worldwide executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, also joined the society as an honorary member.
Well-known in Dallas business and civic communities, Ellis-Kirk’s service includes membership on the boards of the North Texas Tollway Authority and of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. She is married to former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk.
Her speech often returned to the meanings attached to Beta, Gamma and Sigma, Greek letters originally picked to match the initials of the last names of the society’s founders, D. Earle Burchell, Stephen W. Gilman and William A. Scott.
In 1913, when the organization went national, the letters were assigned additional significance. B stood for Bebaeos, Greek for honor; G for Gnosis, which means wisdom; and S for Spoude — earnestness.
Ellis-Kirk addressed all three qualities in her speech.
Honor entails having a keen sense of ethical conduct and integrity, she said. “I grew up knowing the only thing I owned was me, and I have to be comfortable looking in the mirror.”
In regard to wisdom, she noted that being told that “you are wise beyond your years” is a compliment. To remain wise beyond our years “requires us to listen, lead and learn,” she said. “There is wisdom in excellence.
Earnestness, Elli-Kirk said, “involves a purposeful or sincere intent.”
“As leaders, we need purpose,” she said. “We strive to build, improve, drive, multiply and have a positive impact.”
Besides Ellis-Kirk, 149 JSOM students joined BGS this year. Nineteen of them were PhD candidates, eligible because they had completed all requirements to earn their doctorate. Seventy inductees were graduate students, all with a grade-point average of 3.85 or better. Undergraduates were represented by 36 juniors and 24 seniors; both juniors and seniors had to place in the top 10 percent of their respective class.
Chapter President Monica Powell, the Jindal School’s associate dean for graduate programs, says the latest induction brings the chapter’s membership total to 1,234.
View more induction ceremony photos on Flickr .