Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society, was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. Its members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 38 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, more than 150 Nobel Laureates, noted scientists and researchers, business and civic leaders, artists, and athletes, and it continues to honor students who achieve excellence in a broad-based exploration of the arts and sciences. The Greek letters stand for a phrase in Greek meaning “love of learning is the guide of life.” The gold key, a symbol of extraordinary achievement, bears three stars signifying friendship, morality, and learning, as well as a pointing hand representing scholarly ambition.
Our chapter is one of only 286 accredited by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, out of over 3000 colleges and universities in the United States. It was founded in 1965, following a three-year evaluation. Among the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts and the nine state universities in Massachusetts, only UMass Amherst has a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. And among public universities in New England, UMass Amherst is one of only five approved to have chapters by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.