Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Oak

Katie Nash
April 15, 2010

Phi Beta Kappa

On April 13, 2010 a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, one of the most prestigious liberal arts honor societies in the country, was established at Elon University.  This is the not the first academic honor society that has been present on Elon’s campus. The Order of the Oak was established by faculty at Elon in 1962 and bestowed privileges of membership to outstanding students at the college.  According to the Constitution of the Order of the Oak, the purpose was “to recognize superior scholarship, to encourage intellectual achievement, and to foster the liberal and critical mind.”

In order for a student to have been eligible for induction into the Order of the Oak, he or she had to be a junior or senior with a GPA of 3.5 and be a person of good character.  Each year during the October faculty meeting, the Dean of the College would present a list of students that were eligible to be inducted.  The faculty would indicate its approval of student inductees by a majority vote.  During the first ceremony in 1962, 15 students became members of the Order of the Oak. Throughout the academic school year, the Order of the Oak would elect officers, hold meetings, present a public program that contributed to the intellectual and cultural life on campus, collect dues, and create documents appropriate to the honor society.

Elon’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is only the seventh in the state of North Carolina.  Currently at Elon, 57 faculty and staff are members of Phi Beta Kappa.  During the installation service of Phi Beta Kappa on April 13, 2010, Elon inducted 47 students and two foundation members, President Leo M. Lambert and Provost Steven D. House. Students who were recently selected to be members of Phi Beta Kappa had a GPA of 3.77 or higher.  All of these students were majors within the College of Arts and Sciences with strengths in math and foreign languages, as well as displaying good moral character.  Each academic year members of Phi Beta Kappa elect officers, induct student members, sponsor speakers, administer scholarship funds, and promote the values of the arts and sciences on campus.  Elon is now part of the 279 Phi Beta Kappa chapters at college and universities across the United States.


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