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Northern Arizona University Chapter

"Let the Love of Learning Rule Humanity"

(Philosophía Krateítõ Phõtôn)

The history of Phi Kappa Phi has been characterized by a constancy of purpose and an unswerving commitment to its mission. It was a desire to effect change that brought ten senior students, two faculty members, and the school president together in 1897 at the University of Maine. Under the leadership of undergraduate student Marcus L. Urann, they sought to create an honor society that was different from the few others then in existence-one that recognized and honored excellence in all academic disciplines. Thus was born Lambda Sigma Eta (later to be renamed Phi Kappa Phi), a community of scholars whose membership has grown to more than one million.

There are today chapters of Phi Kappa Phi on the campuses of nearly 300 colleges and universities in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Phi Kappa Phi has been and remains a unifying force for academic excellence on these campuses, inducting high-ranking undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, professional staff, and alumni. From the original thirteen members in 1897, the Society now annually confers membership on more than 30,000 persons. Today's initiates, like those who preceded them, are the "best and brightest" and will greatly influence economic, political, social, and educational life in the coming decades.  

History of Phi Kappa Phi - NAU Chapter
The Northern Arizona University Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi was chartered on May 15, 1959. At that time NAU was known as Arizona State College. Charter members were individuals whose names are familiar across campus and throughout the Flagstaff community including Tom Bellwood and Virgil Gillenwater. The original charter document is on display in the new collections room in Cline Library.
  •  Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor 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."

  • The motto of Phi Kappa Phi is Philosophía Krateítõ Phõtôn, translated "Let the love of learning rule humanity." For a detailed explanation of the motto, click here.

  • Those elected to membership include upper 7.5 percent last-term juniors (having completed at least seventy-two semester hours) and upper 10 percent seniors, along with outstanding graduate students, faculty, professional staff, and alumni.

  • Since its founding, more than 1,000,000 scholars have been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi.

  • More than 120,000 members maintain their active status in Phi Kappa Phi, which affords them the benefits associated with dues-paying membership.

  • Nearly 300 chapters of Phi Kappa Phi exist on the campuses of colleges and universities across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.

  • More than 1,200 faculty and staff volunteers give of their time to serve as officers of local Phi Kappa Phi chapters.

  • More than $500,000 in national and local scholarships is awarded annually. 

Phi Kappa Phi members represent the best and brightest from all academic disciplines-a community of scholars that is leaving an enviable legacy for future generations.

Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation and requires nomination and approval by a chapter.

To be eligible for membership:

  • You must be an outstanding student of sound character and enrolled at a college or university with a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. Because Phi Kappa Phi recognizes and promotes academic excellence in all fields of higher education, your field of study may be in any discipline.
  • Juniors must have completed at least seventy-two credit hours and rank scholastically in the top 7.5 percent (or higher depending on local chapter standards) of their class.
  • Seniors must rank in the top 10 percent (or higher depending on local chapter standards) of their class.
  • Graduate students, as well, must rank in the upper 10 percent of their class
  • Faculty, professional staff, and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction may also be eligible for membership.

If you think you meet the criteria described above and have not been invited to membership, you may contact an officer from your chapter.

Every effort is made to keep the cost of membership in Phi Kappa Phi affordable for current and prospective members. At initiation, the candidate will pay certain national and chapter fees. The national portion, $40, pays for the PKP pin, a certificate, and one year of national dues. This entitles the member to receive the Society's quarterly publications, the Phi Kappa Phi Forum magazine and the Phi Kappa Phi Focus Newsletter. Chapter fees, which vary from chapter to chapter, cover the cost of the banquet or reception and local dues. 

Benefits of PKP Membership
  • Recognition for superior academic performance.
  • Career Assistance
  • Distinctive Advantages of membership include respect in both academe and the job market. Graduate school admission committees, like employers, know Phi Kappa Phi members are serious about success.
  • Awards & Scholarships, including Graduate Fellowships, Study Abroad and Internship Grants, National Scholar and Artist Awards, and Promotion of Excellence Grants.
  • Affiliation with distinguished members worldwide in all disciplines.
  • Leadership and Networking opportunities at chapter, regional and national levels.
  • Partner Discounts & Services
  • Publications such as the Society's scholarly magazine, the Phi Kappa Phi Forum, and the national newsletter, the Phi Kappa Phi Focus.

See the National Phi Kappa Phi web site for more information.

NAU Chapter Executive Board

With contact e-mails:

Dr. Rich Lei, President

Janet Savery, Membership Coordinator

Dr. George Gummerman, Scholarship/Award Coordinator

Dr. Gene Moan, Treasurer

Dr. Nita Paden, Marketing and PR Officer

Dr. Robert Yowell, Past President

Dr. Gypsy Denzine, Past-President