Campus Life

About Phi Kappa Phi


The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society. Phi Kappa Phi annually inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff, and alumni. Since its founding in 1897, more than 1 million members have been initiated. Some of the organization's more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, writer John Grisham, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, Netscape founder James Barksdale, internationally-renowned sculptor Glenna Goodacre, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, two-time Nobel laureate Linus C. Pauling and Ms. America 2009-10, Bridget Cleary. 

Phi Kappa Phi has chapters on more than 300 college and university campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff, and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The Society's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."

As expressed in the Phi Kappa Phi national website, “Phi Kappa Phi is much more than an emblem and a line on a résumé. It is a global network comprised of the best and brightest from all academic disciplines - a community of scholars and professionals building an enduring legacy for future generations.”


In 1897 at the University of Maine, ten senior students, two faculty members, and the school president created an honor society that was different from the few others then in existence-one that recognized and honored excellence in all academic disciplines. Under the leadership of undergraduate student Marcus L. Urann, the group formed the Lambda Sigma Eta Society, which was later renamed Phi Kappa Phi from the initial letters of the Greek words forming its adopted motto: Philosophìa Krateìto Photôn, "Let the love of learning rule humanity."

Phi Kappa Phi's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."


The primary objective of the national Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the recognition and encouragement of superior scholarship in all academic disciplines. The Society is convinced that in recognizing and honoring those persons of good character who have excelled in scholarship, in whatever field, it will stimulate others to strive for excellence. Moreover, the Society serves the interests of the student capable of excellence by insisting that in order to acquire a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, an institution provide the means and atmosphere conducive to academic excellence.

The Phi Kappa Phi Name and Logo

The Phi Kappa Phi emblem/logo consists of a globe against the background of the sun. The sun's rays signify equivalence among the various branches of learning and represent the dissemination of truth as light. Encircling the globe is a band containing the Greek letters (ΦΚΦ) that symbolizes a fraternal bond that girds the earth and binds the lovers of wisdom in a common purpose. The name, Phi Kappa Phi, is derived from the words that form its motto (Philosophía Krateítõ Phõtôn), which means "Let the love of learning rule humanity."