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Skidmore College
Phi Beta Kappa
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Our motto: Philosophia Biou Kubernetes
(Love of wisdom is the guide of life)

What is Phi Beta Kappa?

Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. Since its founding on December 5, 1776, at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, the society has supported the liberal ideal in education and recognized outstanding academic achievement in the liberal arts and sciences.

Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is by election of the resident membership of a chapter. There are currently 276 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States (the Skidmore Chapter, Phi of New York, was installed in 1971). Although most new members are elected as undergraduates, chapters can also on occasion elect small numbers of deserving graduate students, alumni and distinguished scholars or statespersons.

In addition to electing new members, chapters contribute to the academic life of their institutions by sponsoring lectures, exhibits, readings or other scholarly events. The national body, the Phi Beta Kappa Society, sponsors scholarships, a visiting lecture program and scholarly awards. It also publishes The American Scholar, a wide-ranging quarterly journal of the liberal arts and sciences. The society also publishes a quarterly newsletter called the Key Reporter, sent to all members for life as a privilege of membership.

Members of Phi Beta Kappa who are not campus-based can maintain their connection to the organization by joining one of more than 50 Phi Beta Kappa Associations, many based in metropolitan areas.

For more information, including a summary of PBK history and lists of chapters and associations, please visit the PBK Society website.