Professor Steve Tracy to be Inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is pleased to announce that Steve Tracy of Amherst, MA will be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Tracy is currently a Professor in Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.Tracy is among approximately 32,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors, having at least 72 semester hours, are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10 percent of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff, and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.
Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. The Society has chapters on more than 300 college and university campuses in North America and the Philippines. Its mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."
Since its founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated to Phi Kappa Phi. Some of the organization's more notable members include former Presidents William Howard Taft and Jimmy Carter, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, poet Rita Dove, pianist Dave Brubeck, novelist David Baldacci, and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. The Society has awarded approximately $15 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, $1 million is awarded each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, member and chapter awards and grants for local and national literacy initiatives.
Steven C. Tracy is Professor of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst. Tracy, who has written, edited, co-edited, or provided introductions for 30 books. He has contributed more than 100 essays to journals, dictionaries, encyclopedias, critical works, and textbooks on topics such as August Wilson, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, African American music, Sutton Griggs, T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and others. He has lectured and presented at conferences in such places as France, Belgium, England, Germany, China, and Canada. Most recently, he has traveled many times to China to give keynote addresses and a series of lectures on American and African American literature and music at a wide selection of Chinese universities, and returned twice in 2011 and 2012 to lecture and research. In 2010, he was placed on the roster of Senior Specialists of the Fulbright Foundation, and served as Senior Specialist teaching and lecturing at the University of Konstanz in Germany. He has also been named as a prestigious Chu Tian Scholar (the most prestigious scholarly award in Hubei Province, China) at Central China Normal University, where he will teach, lecture and perform two months a year for five years under the auspices of the Chinese government. His current volume, Touched by the Blues: Futuristic Jungleism, Ragmentation, and the Bluing of American Literature, is under publication consideration. He is currently working on contributing an essay on Ralph Ellison to a new collection of essays, working with the US Government on a new postage stamp, writing LP liner notes for a historical reissue of Cincinnati blues recordings, and planning volume two of his series of books on blues and literature.
A singer and harmonica player, Tracy has recorded with his own band, Pigmeat Jarrett, Big Joe Duskin, and Albert Washington, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and opened for B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, James Cotton, Canned Heat, Johnny Winter, and many others. While a senior at Walnut Hills High School, Steve won a national harmonica championship for ages 13-18 that put him as a guest on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show, initiating his career as a performer. He also appeared locally on a number of variety shows, including Nick Clooney’s (George’s father) and Bob Braun’s, taking along Cincinnati bluesmen when possible. Tracy toured the Netherlands with Steve Tracy and the Crawling Kingsnakes following the release of the CD Going to Cincinnati, performing also in the UK, France, China, and via teleconference to Israel. He has also written 50 CD liner notes for a variety of labels, including Document Records, and for Albert Washington's two releases on Ace (UK). As a long-time researcher and supporter of the Cincinnati blues scene, Tracy organized his activities in such a way as to emphasize the importance of the scene in a variety of ways. As a writer for Blues Unlimited, Living Blues, Jefferson, and Juke Blues, he document the history and contemporary Cincinnati blues scene. Steve has also served as a co-performer, sometime booking agent, and friend of a variety of bluesmen, helping nurture the careers of Cincinnati's elder statesmen of the blues. Steve spent over a decade as a blues DJ on WAIF, WNOP, and WVXU radio stations during that time helping to organize blues days and blues cruises on the Ohio River. He produced an LP by Pigmeat Jarrett for June Appal Records, which brought Pigmeat some national acclaim and gigs outside the country, and he did Pigmeat's obituary on NPR. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Cincinnati Blues Society along with his friend Albert Washington the year he left Cincinnati for Massachusetts. He returns to Cincinnati annually to host the Blues and Boogie Woogie Piano Stage at the Greater Cincinnati Blues Festival, and periodically performs at the Festival as well.