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College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Phi Beta Kappa

PBK KeyThe Phi Beta Kappa Society installed its Theta of Indiana Chapter at Butler University on Feb. 4, 2010, making Butler one of only 280 universities nationwide to host a chapter of the country's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. Read more about the installation ceremony.

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. by five students. Phi Beta Kappa has for more than two centuries fostered the principles of freedom of inquiry and freedom of thought and expression. These ideas, symbolized on the society's distinctive gold key, promote the foundation of personal freedom, scientific inquiry, liberty of conscience, and creative endeavor. The letters Phi Beta Kappa (ΦβΚ) represent the Greek initials of the society's motto: "Love of learning is the guide of life."

Only about 10 percent of colleges and universities in the United States have been approved to shelter chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. Only eight colleges and universities in the State of Indiana are home to Phi Beta Kappa chapters.

Membership in Phi Beta Kappa is for life. Invitation to membership is a significant academic honor. Acceptance of that invitation reflects a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to freedom of inquiry and expression.