The nation’s oldest and most widely-known academic honor society, the Phi Beta Kappa Society was founded at the College of William and Mary in 1776. UConn’s chapter, Epsilon of Connecticut, was chartered in 1956.
Phi Beta Kappa stands for Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης in Greek and Philosophia Biou Cybernētēs in Latin, which means “Love of learning is the guide of life,” and is the motto of the Society.
Only about 10 percent of the nation’s institutions of higher education have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Each year, about one college senior in a hundred, nationwide, is invited to join the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is lifelong, with only a single initiation fee. After graduation, members may stay involved through alumni associations or, for those who become graduate students, faculty, or staff at member institutions, through chapters.
Since the Society’s founding in 1776, 17 U.S. Presidents, 38 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and more than 130 Nobel Laureates have been inducted as members—as well as countless authors, diplomats, athletes, researchers, actors, and business leaders.