Founded in 1776

Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, is the oldest national honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in the nation. Only about 10% of US colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters and these chapter select only about 10% of their graduates to join. Since its founding, Phi Beta Kappa has inducted 17 US Presidents, 39 Supreme Court Justices, and more than 130 Nobel Laureates as members. The motto of the society is “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

Denison University's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (Theta of Ohio) was founded over a century ago, in 1910, to recognize excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Election to Phi Beta Kappa takes place during the second semester of the senior year and is based primarily on a record of outstanding academic achievement. Seniors will be inducted based upon their GPA by the end of the fall of their senior year and will be no more than ten percent of the graduating class. A few juniors with truly exceptional academic records will be inducted as well. In addition to the above requirements, the chapter will take into consideration the opinions of teachers and administrative officers concerning the character, capacity, scholarly achievements, and breadth of interest of each student under consideration.

The Theta of Ohio chapter of Phi Beta Kappa also oversees the Phi Society, comprising students of highest scholastic standing in their first year at college. The name Phi Society signifies that it is to be a first step towards membership in the parent organization. Denison’s Phi Society has been so successful that it has been replicated at a number of other institutions.