Phi Beta Kappa
The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honor society with the mission of fostering and recognizing excellence in undergraduate liberal arts and sciences. Founded at the College of William and Mary on December 5, 1776, as a student society devoted to the pursuit of liberal education and intellectual fellowship, it is the oldest academic society in the United States. Membership is granted to approximately 1% of college graduates, and today there are 290 chapters at America’s leading colleges and universities and over half a million living members. No member school may induct more than 10% of its arts and sciences graduates, and most chapters invite a smaller percentage of membership. Phi Beta Kappa is generally considered to be the most selective and prestigious of all college honors societies, so election to membership is one of the highest honors available to undergraduate collegians. Occasionally, outstanding Ph.D. graduates are also invited to join the Society. The Phi Beta Kappa national office sponsors several awards, fellowships, lectureships, and scholarships, and works with other institutions to advance the liberal arts and sciences. It publishes two journals, including The American Scholar.