Mustafa Soykurt, Consul General of France in Boston, Addresses Students at Ceremony

French Honor Society inductees
From left: Mercédès Baillargeon, Merlin Charlton, Nicholas LeClair, Celia Wong, Greta Rainville, Danielle Boutwell and Mustafa Soykurt.

By Marlon Pitter

The Department of World Languages and Cultures recently inducted four students and honorary member Mustafa Soykurt, the Consul General of France in Boston, into Pi Delta Phi, the National French Honor Society.

The induction ceremony, held at O’Leary Library, honored Merlin Charlton, a senior majoring in French and mathematics; Nicholas LeClair, a senior criminal justice major with a minor in French; Greta Rainville, a senior majoring in French and nutritional science; and Celia Wong, a junior majoring in French and psychology.

“The group that just got inducted is an amazing group of very dedicated students who are incredibly intellectually curious and super-connected to the world,” said Assoc. Prof. Mercédès Baillargeon. “Being part of Pi Delta Phi is being part of something bigger that recognizes the excellence of their work in French, and a (community) of Americans who love French and want to have it be a part of their lives.”

Founded in 1906, Pi Delta Phi is the highest academic honor in the discipline of French for undergraduate and graduate students and is the oldest academic honor society for a modern foreign language in the United States.

Soykurt addressed the inductees in French, delivering a message of inclusion and connection to the language and culture.

“Everybody has a place in the francophone world,” Baillargeon said of the consul’s remarks.

Baillargeon said Soykurt’s visit to UMass Lowell added extra significance to an already special celebration.

“For the students, it is a really nice recognition and gesture to have somebody who's important come and be a part of the ceremony,” she said. “It's really cool that he became an honorary member of our chapter. He just started in the U.S. (in 2022), and we're now his chapter of Pi Delta Phi.”