PBK Visiting Scholar

The Visiting Scholar Program offers undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by fostering interaction between Visiting Scholars and the resident students and faculty. The Visiting Scholar spends two days on each campus, participating in class discussions, meeting informally with students, and giving a public lecture open to the academic community and the general public.


In 2017, Phi Beta Kappa received a gift from Carl F. Cranor, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at University of California-Riverside, to establish an endowment in support of the Society’s Visiting Scholar Program. Every year the Carl F. Cranor Family Endowment for the Visiting Scholar Program funds a Scholar whose visits will include at least one to a Phi Beta Kappa chapter campus located in Southern California.

More information about Cranor’s scholarship and background, visit the following website.

Upcoming Lectures

“Tell Your Story” by Distinguished Prof. Natalia Molina:

Explore advanced writing strategies and dive into the history of under-represented groups with PBK Visiting Scholar, Prof. Natalia Molina!

Prof. Molina is a Distinguished Professor and Dean’s Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, specializing in History, Latinx Studies, Immigration, Gender, Foodways, and Public Health. Named the 2020 MacArthur Fellow, Prof. Molina’s most recent book, A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community, chronicles the lives of immigrant workers, including Prof. Molina’s grandmother, who became placemakers, nurturing and feeding their communities at restaurants that served as urban anchors.

In this public talk, Prof. Molina hopes to pass on essential professional writing strategies that she and others in her field have used to tell the real-life stories of influential people that are under-represented in history. The professor will be open to questions following the public talk as well as signing copies of her most recent work, A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community.

Join us on April 16th, 2024 from 5-7 pm at the Humanities Gateway Room 1030. Space is limited, so save your seat by RSVPing here!

Education Kitchen with Prof. Molina and Executive Chef Jessica Van Roo

Join us for the PBK Visiting Scholar Program: Education Kitchen on April 17th, 2024 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm at the UCI Health Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute (SSIHI)!

You will have the chance to taste authentic Mexican dishes from Distinguished Professor Natalia Molina’s book, A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community, prepared by Executive Chef Jessica Van Roo and UCI students. You will also learn about the history and culture behind the food which would have been served at the now closed Nayarit restaurant, formerly in LA.

You will also get to meet and chat with Distinguished Professor Natalia Molina, a renowned historian and author who has been awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama. She will share her insights and experiences on how food can bring people together and foster a social identity for marginalized communities.

This event is free for all guests! Don’t miss this chance to enjoy a mouth-watering meal and a stimulating conversation with one of the most influential scholars of our time.

Space is limited, so reserve your spot by RSVPing here!

We look forward to seeing you there!

A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community

A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community is a book by historian, MacArthur Genius, and Distinguished Professor Natalia Molina. It tells the story of her grandmother, Doña Natalia, who opened a Mexican restaurant in Echo Park, Los Angeles, in 1951. The book explores how the Nayarit became a place of belonging, connection, and resistance for ethnic Mexicans and other Latinx residents in a city marked by anti-Latinx racism. The book also reveals the hidden history of Echo Park, a neighborhood that experienced interracial mixing and cultural diversity.

Prof. Molina will be signing copies of A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community on April 16th, 2024 from 5-7 pm at the Humanities Gateway Room 1030. Space is limited, so save your seat by RSVPing here!

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at a discount at the Public Talk while supplies last. You can buy the book on Amazon by clicking here.

Past Lectures

Mark D. Hayward, 2023

April 20, 2023 | Mark D. Hayward has served on numerous scientific advisory boards at the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, major foundations.

Roger Guenveur Smith, 2021

May 5-6, 2021 | Roger Guenveur Smith adapted his Obie Award-winning performance of A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY into a Peabody Award-winning telefilm.

Donald S. Lopez Jr., 2022

April 20-21, 2022 | Donald S. Lopez Jr. is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan.

Natasha Trethewey, 2019

Dr. Natasha Trethewey is the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. She previously spent 15 years at Emory University.

Richard Alley, 2020

Dr. Richard Alley (PhD 1987, Geology, Wisconsin) is Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences at Penn State. He studies the great ice sheets and climate.