Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Its chapters are on more than 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Each year, approximately 30,000 members are initiated.
In 1897 at the University of Maine, ten senior students, two faculty members, and the school president created an honor society that was different from the few others then in existence-one that recognized and honored excellence in all academic disciplines. Under the leadership of undergraduate student Marcus L. Urann, the group formed the Lambda Sigma Eta Society, which was later renamed Phi Kappa Phi from the initial letters of the Greek words forming its adopted motto: Philosophìa Krateìto Photôn, "Let the love of learning rule humanity."
Since its founding, Phi Kappa Phi has initiated more than 1 million members into its ranks; all of these members have received emblems and certificates of membership. However, Phi Kappa Phi is much more than an emblem and a line on a résumé. It is a global network comprised of the best and brightest from all academic disciplines - a community of scholars and professionals building an enduring legacy for future generations.
Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. The upper 10 percent of undergraduate students having at least seventy-two semester hours or a 4.0 GPA were eligible for membership. Graduate students with a 4.0 GPA and at least 24 graduate semester hours also qualify, as do faculty and professional staff who have achieved scholarly distinction.
The badge of the Society is a globe against the background of the Sun, the rays of which form an expansive corona and radiate in a number of symmetrical and equal concentrations from behind the globe. These signify equivalence among the various branches of learning and represent dissemination of truth as light. Encircling the globe is a band containing the Greek letters (Phi Kappa Phi) that symbolizes a fraternal bond that girds the earth and binds the lovers of wisdom in a common purpose.
The seal of the Society features the badge in its center. The badge is surrounded by a crenellated (kren-?-la-tid) line which represents the battlements and walls of Troy, and which symbolizes a technological aspect of the ancient Greek culture reflected by the Society. In the space between this line and the periphery of the seal appear three stars just above the badge, one for each of the three original chapters of the Society. Below the badge is the phrase "Founded 1897."
The ribbon of the Society is a meander pattern which is common in ancient Greek art and which symbolizes the classical features of the Society.
The Society's mission is
"To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."