Phi Beta Kappa was founded at the College of William and Mary in 1776. Chapters were established at Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth before the end of the 18th century, setting a pattern for slow expansion that has continued to the present. There are currently 293 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States.
The Phi Beta Kappa Key
The symbol of Phi Beta Kappa is the key, inscribed with the letters S P, the Greek letters Phi Beta Kappa, a pointing finger, three stars, and the date of founding, December 5, 1776. The Greek letters are the initials of the society’s motto, Philosophia Biou Kybernetes, “The love of wisdom is the guide of life.” The letters S P are the initials of the Latin words Societas Philosophiae. The pointing finger and the three stars symbolize the ambitions of young scholars and the three distinguishing principles of the Society — friendship, morality, learning.
Phi Beta Kappa in North Carolina
There are eight chapters of Phi Beta Kappa sheltered at colleges and universities in North Carolina: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Alpha, 1904), Duke University (Beta, 1920), Davidson College (Gamma, 1923), Wake Forest University (Delta, 1941), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Epsilon, 1956; but originally chartered as a section of the Alpha chapter in 1934), North Carolina State University (Zeta, 1995), Elon University (Eta, 2010), and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (Theta, 2022).
Phi Beta Kappa at North Carolina State University
In ceremonies on April 17, 1995, officials of the national Phi Beta Kappa Society conferred upon the Phi Beta Kappa faculty at NC State University their charter as Zeta of North Carolina chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The new chapter then elected officers and initiated the first undergraduate members of Phi Beta Kappa elected from the NC State University student body. Phi Beta Kappa leaders attending the ceremony included Charles Blitzer, national president of Phi Beta Kappa, who was also a former Director of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park.
The Charter of the Zeta Chapter lists our founding member faculty and staff.
Diane Fagin Adler, Nina Stromgren Allen, Louise Antony, John Arnold, Maxine P. Atkinson, David F. Austin, Barbara J. Baines, Lynne Baker-Ward, David S. Ball, Burton Beers, Leonidas Betts, Roger L. Berger, John Bishir, Dennis D. Boos, Robert Bryan, Sr., John T. Caldwell, Lee Campbell, Thomas Caves, Larry S. Champion, Richard Chandler, William Scott Chilton, James W. Clark, Jr., Rance Cleaveland, Jo-Ann Cohen, Arthur W. Cooper, James E. Crisp, Mary K. Cunningham, Stephanie Curtis, Margaret E. Daub, Angela Davis-Gardner, David DeMaster, Jacquelin Dietz, Murray S. Downs, Rex A. Dwyer, Janet Gebbie Edgerton, Grace Finkle, David J. Flath, Leon D. Freedman, David Garson, James F. Gilliam, David P. Gilmartin, Christopher Gorman, Fred Gould, David B. Greene, Michael Grimwood, Amy G. Halberstadt, Linda K. Hanley-Bowdoin, Antony H. Harrison, Eleanor C. Hawkins, Harold Heatwole, Leslie T. Henry, James Hibbard, John Huggard, Jacqueline M. Hughes-Oliver, Z Zimmerman Hugus, Jr., Melynda Huskey, Charles E. Johnson, James W. Kalat, Arthur W. Kelley, Carl T. Kelley, Sanford H. Kessler, Peter K. Kilpatrick, Margaret King, Charles R. Knoeber, Charles Korte, Fred Lado, Robert Lane, Jeffrey Leiter, James C. Lester, Barbara B. Levenbook, Joseph Levine, Samuel G. Levine, David P. Livingston III, Gerald Lucovsky, Lucinda Hardwick MacKechan, James W. Mahaffey, Nancy Margolis, Clement L. Markert, Jon Mauney, Allison Eades McCoppin, Claude E. McKinney, Jasper Memory, Loretta Kizer Mershon, Walter E. Meyers, Marion L. Miles, Carolyn R. Miller, Carolyn S. Miller, Karlyn Mitchell, Larry K. Monteith, Charles G. Moreland, Robert B. Mullin, Karen Muñana, Larysa A. Mykyta, Craig M. Newmark, Henry L. Nuttle, Janet C. Osteryoung, Robert Osteryoung, Michael Paesler, Lavon B. Page, Sandra Paur, Banks Peacock, Maria Pramaggiore, Virginia M. Prichard, Suzanne T. Purrington, Robert T. Ramsay, Stephen P. Reynolds, Jim E. Riviere, Robert L. Schrag, Alan Schueler, Steven J. Schwartz, Michael F. Singer, Judy Jo Small, Samuel S. Snyder, Jr., Daniel L. Solomon, Mary Ellen Spencer, Norman A. Sprinthall, James H. Svara, David Ronald Tilley, Nancy Tilley, James R. Troyer, Herbert Underwood, Kenneth P. Vickery, Michael L. Walden, John N. Wall, Jeffrey Walters, Benjamin J. Weigler, Thomas R. Wentworth, Mary Williams, James R. Wilson, Mary Ann Witt, Donna L. Wolcott, Thomas Wolcott, Deborah B. Wyrick, David A. Zonderman