Phi Beta Kappa at CSB/SJU
Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest academic honor society, founded in 1776 by five students at the College of William and Mary. The Society celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America's leading colleges and universities. The Society sponsors activities to advance these studies - the humanities, the social sciences, the fine arts, and the natural sciences - in higher education and in society at large. Only about 10 percent of the nation's institutions of higher learning have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Only about 10 percent of the arts and sciences graduates of these distinguished institutions are selected for Phi Beta Kappa membership. Each year, about one college senior in a hundred, nationwide, is invited to join. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa shows commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to freedom of inquiry and expression.
The key is the symbol of the Society. The Greek letters "Phi Beta Kappa" stand for the motto Philosophia Biou Kubernetes, "Love of learning is the guide of life." The three stars in the upper left-hand corner on the front of the key symbolize the aims of the Society: Friendship, Morality, and Literature (or Scholarship). A pointing hand in the lower right-hand corner stands for aspiration. On the reverse side are inscribed the letters S and P, which stand for the Society's second motto, the Latin words Societas Philosophiae, meaning "philosophical society." Below them appears the date of the founding of the first chapter: December 5, 1776; the member's name and electing chapter are engraved above.
Our chapter at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, Theta of Minnesota, was established in 2009 and elected its first class of members in the spring of 2010. There is no application for membership in the Society. Students are elected by the faculty and staff members of the Chapter, based on criteria including a major in a field included among the liberal arts and sciences, minimum GPA of 3.65 for seniors and 3.75 for juniors, breadth and depth of coursework, and good character. The Chapter holds an induction ceremony and banquet every spring around the end of April.