Chancellor Gladys Styles Johnston is proud to announce that the University of Nebraska at Kearney will be installing a Phi Kappa Phi chapter. The ceremony will take place on May 2 at 5:30 p.m.in the Fine Arts building, Choral Room. Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s second oldest honor society, recognizes select universities across the nation that excel academically in all disciplines. UNK is the third Nebraska university to have a Phi Kappa Phi chapter. There are existing chapters at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Nebraska Wesleyan University.
“Installing a Phi Kappa Phi chapter is an endorsement of our academic program. We met their standards. For UNK it is very prestigious to be granted a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi,” Chancellor Johnston said.
Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine. The national headquarters of Phi Kappa Phi is at Louisiana State University. It currently has more than 1 million members around the world. Including UNK, Phi Kappa Phi has 283 chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
The mission of Phi Kappa Phi is to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education. Less than 10 percent of colleges in the United States have Phi Kappa Phi chapters.
“Phi Kappa Phi is the oldest, largest and most selective of all the all-discipline honor societies. It is only fitting that your very best students, faculty, staff and alumni can become members of this prestigious organization,” Wendell McKenzie, national president of Phi Kappa Phi and professor at North Carolina State University said.
Barbara Audley, interim assistance vice chancellor for communications and dean of continuing Education, has been working on the proposal to bring Phi Kappa Phi to UNK for three years. Audley and Chancellor Johnston are members of Phi Kappa Phi. “I was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi as an undergraduate in California. When I arrived at UNK, I became aware of the high quality of our programs and faculty. I thought we’d be a good match for Phi Kappa Phi. I’m happy we will be able to recognize the academic achievements of our students in this way,” Audley said.
Included with the proposal was a site visit to UNK by Phi Kappa Phi representatives.
“I greatly enjoyed meeting the faculty, staff, and student representatives on the Site Visit to the University of Nebraska at Kearney. UNK certainly provides an academic and professional environment in which the goals and objectives of Phi Kappa Phi can be met,” Jim Heflin, Phi Kappa Phi vice president of the south central region and professor at Cameron University, Lawton, OK. said.
Charter members will consist of UNK faculty and staff who became members of Phi Kappa Phi in other chapters. The first student member class will be initiated in December 2002. Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation only. Seniors and graduate students must rank in the top 10 percent of their class. Juniors must have completed one term and rank in the top 7.5 percent of their class. Faculty, professional staff, and alumni may also be eligible for membership.
Student membership in Phi Kappa Phi comes with several benefits including the opportunity to compete for an $8,000 scholarship for graduate school. With its Phi Kappa Phi chapter, UNK joins the prestigious ranks of the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Missouri at Columbia, U.S. Military Academy, Syracuse University, and Cornell University. Famous members of Phi Kappa Phi include former United States President Jimmy Carter, former First Lady and now Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton, musician Ellis Marsalis, and actress Jaime Lee Curtis.