Phi Beta Kappa Welcomes New Chapters

By Ann McCulloch

In one of the highlights of Phi Beta Kappa’s Triennial Council meeting in Denver, delegates voted to award new chapters to the ΦBK faculty at three institutions: Mercer University in Macon, Georgia; Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon; and The University of Houston in Texas. 

“Phi Beta Kappa exists to honor students and to advocate for the liberal arts and sciences on campus and in the broader world,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill. “With the establishment of these chapters, we are delighted to acknowledge the accomplishments of these institutions in fostering robust environments where the liberal arts and sciences flourish. We look forward to a lively partnership in advancing that cause.”

Following the vote, University leaders expressed enthusiasm and pride. Remarking that Phi Beta Kappa is the “most respected cohort of American academic institutions,” Mercer President William D. Underwood said that being granted the chapter “is an important affirmation of the rigor of Mercer’s arts and sciences curriculum, the quality of its faculty and students, and the strength of its mission and values.” 

Oregon State President Edward J. Ray, who is a Phi Beta Kappa member, expressed excitement at the prospect of offering membership to Oregon State’s high-achieving students, reflecting that “becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa had a profound impact on my life and on my career as a leader of higher education.” President Ray and his late wife, Beth, established the Kay Bowers Fund for Phi Beta Kappa Students to cover membership fees for eligible candidates who can’t afford them.

University of Houston President and Chancellor Renu Khator emphasized the importance of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter to an institution with a large number of first-generation and low-income students. She said that “this designation proves that diversity and excellence are not mutually exclusive. We have transformed this institution into a place where our students have a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the nation.”

Phi Beta Kappa welcomes the newest members of the ΦBK family.

Ann McCulloch is Director of Chapter and Association Relations at Phi Beta Kappa’s national office.