Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honors organization. Founded in 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society has recognized and fostered excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Phi Beta Kappa stands for a Greek phrase meaning “The love of learning is the guide of life.”
Typically, students are elected to Phi Beta Kappa toward the end of their senior year, or in the spring of the year in which they complete 120 credits. Election to Phi Beta Kappa reflects success in meeting the challenges and in fulfilling the aims of liberal education.
John Churchill, former secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, offers this reflection on the aims of PBK:
“As we celebrate the complexity and diversity of the contemporary world, in which individuals and societies struggle to cope with bewildering change, we may also find daunting the task of promoting knowledge, tolerance, respect, and reflection. Yet this is the task set out by the founders of Phi Beta Kappa . . . [to make a reality] the idea that the lot of humanity and the world can be made better through learning.”
There is a nominal fee for lifetime membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
Membership signals to employers and graduate and professional schools that the initiate has outstanding credentials. Only 10 percent of colleges in the country have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, and elected members must be in the top 10 percent of their class. Of the 160 colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest, only 9 have Phi Beta Kappa chapters.
Gamma Chapter at WSU
The Gamma of Washington Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa located at WSU was established in 1928, making it one of the first founded at a land-grant university.
In spring, qualified new members are initiated at a special induction ceremony on campus. There is a nominal fee for lifetime membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
The chapter offers two awards to WSU students in Pullman: the Sidney G. Hacker Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship and the Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship. Awards are made in spring to applicants who will be seniors in Pullman the following academic year. The amount of the awards is intended to cover full resident/in-state tuition plus mandatory fees. The awards might not be presented every year.
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS: Not accepted at this time
Oct. 3 ‘Freedom of Expression’ presentation and discussion
4 p.m. in Terrell Library Room 103. A video-stream featuring former Philadelphia Inquirer Editor William Marimow and national Phi Beta Kappa Secretary/CEO Fred Lawrence will engage in dialogue on recent challenges and debates concerning free expression on campuses across the country; local discussion will follow. Hosts are WSU Libraries and WSU’s Gamma of Washington Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. More>>