About Phi Beta Kappa

The nation’s most prestigious academic honor society.


  • About

    What is Phi Beta Kappa?

    Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. Since its founding in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa has celebrated excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and championed freedom of thought. The ideal Phi Beta Kappa member has demonstrated intellectual integrity, tolerance for other views, and a broad range of academic interests. Since the Society's founding, 17 U.S. Presidents, 39 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and more than 130 Nobel Laureates have been inducted as members, along with countless authors, diplomats, athletes, researchers, actors, and business leaders.


  • benefits

    Why join Phi Beta Kappa?

    Phi Beta Kappa selects only the highest-achieving students from the nation’s top schools. Employers and graduate schools recognize the Phi Beta Kappa name, and know membership is an extraordinary accomplishment. Being invited to join Phi Beta Kappa is an invitation for lifelong membership, including access to ongoing events and insights throughout the country. Phi Beta Kappa is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate students’ academic success, as well as the liberal arts and sciences.


  • the key

    Symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society

    What does the name Phi Beta Kappa stand for?
    Phi Beta Kappa are the initials of the Greek motto Philosophia Biou Kubernetes, "Love of wisdom, the guide of life."

    What about the S P on the back of the key?
    The letters S P are the initials of the Latin words Societas Philosophiae, “Philosophical Society.”

    What do the other symbols on the key mean?
    A pointing finger and three stars symbolize the ambition of the young scholars and the three distinguishing principles of the Society: friendship, morality, and learning.


  • Activities & events

    What does Phi Beta Kappa do on campus?

    Following its bylaws, St. Kate’s Gamma Chapter members hold public events, initiate new members and support the liberal arts and sciences and students who study them.