Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa Key

About 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.

Phi Beta Kappa inductee signing the book

Benefits of Joining Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa opens doors. Members enjoy networking resources through local and national chapters and employer recognition of the high standards held by Phi Beta Kappa members.

Since 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.

Initiation into Phi Beta Kappa is a crowning recognition of a student’s hard work, and connects all members to a great history at St. Kate’s.

Becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa student speaks at an event

Activities and Events

Following its bylaws, the St. Catherine University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (Gamma Chapter of Minnesota) holds public events, initiates new members and supports the liberal arts and sciences and students who study them. The chapter participates in the national organization’s Visiting Scholars Program, showcases on-campus scholarship, and inducts students into the chapter annually or semi-annually.

Historical image of St. Kate's students signing the Phi Beta Kappa book as new inductees

St. Kate's Chapter History

In the fall of 1937, The College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) earned the right to have a chapter on its campus. It was the first Catholic institution of higher learning to earn this honor. For thirty years Mother Antonia had—as faculty member, dean, and president—worked to procure a scholarly faculty, a curriculum devoted to the liberal arts, and a student body responsive to the rich classical and Christian heritage of the West. For the graduates, a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa also meant recognition of the standards and achievements of the institution by national educational organizations.

The Chapter at our institution was installed on May 17, 1938. At that time one honorary member, Mother Antonia, six alumnae members, and one member in course were admitted to the new chapter. On the first anniversary of the installation, the first Greek Letter Banquet, suggested by the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, took place. The numbers of qualified students were at first very few, but today the total membership is over 1,000, of whom 26 have been elected as alumnae members.

Our inductees and members in residence