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 280 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The Phi Beta Kappa Key

KeyThe 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 seven 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), and Elon University (Eta, 2010).

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 is 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. See the list after the image:

Zeta Chapter of North Carolina Charter.

Charter Members:

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