History of Phi Kappa Phi

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. Its chapters are on nearly 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Each year, approximately 30,000 members are initiated.

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: Philosophía Krateítõ Phõtôn, "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.

Phi Kappa Phi'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."

Throughout its history, Phi Kappa Phi has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to its mission, remaining true to its heritage while becoming increasingly relevant to its chapters and members.