UMBC Awarded Phi Beta Kappa ChapterOctober 22, 1997 - Phi Beta Kappa, the nationıs most prestigious scholarly honor society, has voted to establish a chapter at UMBC. The decision caps a rigorous, three-year application and review process. UMBC was one of only seven schools to gain membership, selected from an initial group of almost 150 colleges and universities from across the country that applied.
UMBC "emerged with all colors flying," said Phi Beta Kappa Executive Secretary Douglas Foard, "and the Society could not be more delighted with the outcome." Students completing their studies in the current academic year will be eligible for consideration for Phi Beta Kappa next spring.
"This will make a huge difference for current and prospective students, particularly for their graduate school prospects," said UMBC Professor Jay Freyman, Director of the Honors College and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. "This honor stays with them for life. But it also means a lot to the faculty, who can feel very proud that their scholarship and preparation of high caliber students is recognized."
Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest academic honor society. Its mission is to foster and to recognize excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its distinctive emblem, the golden key, is widely recognized as a symbol of academic achievement.
There are now Phi Beta Kappa chapters at 255 campuses and approximately 430,000 current members of Phi Beta Kappa nationwide. There are also Phi Beta Kappa alumni associations in over 50 metropolitan areas.
An installation ceremony will take place at UMBC in December. In keeping with the principles of the Phi Beta Kappa charter, the chapter is granted not to the institution but to the Phi Beta Kappa members of the campus community. There are almost 60 Phi Beta Kappa members among UMBC's faculty and staff; all signed a petition in support of the Universityıs application.
"This award is a significant milestone for UMBC. Very few schools so young are considered for Phi Beta Kappa status. Our membership reflects the high quality of our faculty and students and the strength of the undergraduate experience at UMBC."
-President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III