The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society. Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, the distinguishing characteristic of Phi Kappa Phi is its belief that all branches of higher education merit recognition. It extends its interest and eligibility across the entire range of academic inquiry and calls attention to the fact that today's world needs a breadth of understanding far beyond that of a specialist who restricts his or her outlook to a single area of study.
The Society of Phi Kappa Phi annually inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff, and alumni. Once inducted, Phi Kappa Phi members gain a lifelong passport to a global network of academic and professional opportunities. Since its founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated. Some of the Society's more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, writers David Baldacci and John Grisham, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Phi Kappa Phi has chapters on more than 300 select college and university campuses in North America and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff, and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. 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."
For five consecutive years since 2010, the University of Michigan has received the Society's prestigious Chapter of Excellence Award, one of only a handful chapters in Phi Kappa Phi history to achieve this distinction. Along with top students in the University, chapter members include President Mark Schlissel, former President Mary Sue Coleman, Provost Martha Pollack, several Deans and Distinguished University Professors.
As the core of its mission, Phi Kappa Phi annually awards more than $700,000 in scholarships and other grants through the Society and its Chapters. This year the University of Michigan Chapter awarded $20,000 in project grants to five extraordinary students. Since 2008, the U-M Chapter has awarded a total of $93.000 to its student members.