Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually more than 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The society has chapters at more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines.
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." Having a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi at UTSA is an important step in the university's journey toward Tier One.
Since its founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated. Some of the organization's more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, writer John Grisham, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, opera singer Renee Fleming, novelist David Baldacci, journalist and broadcaster Deborah Norville, Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry Rita Dove and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley.
Phi Kappa Phi awards $1 million biennially to outstanding students and chapters through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad scholarships, member and chapter awards, and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. UTSA students have won a number of these awards, including the Marcus L. Urann Fellowship for $15,000. The society also offers career assistance and networking and training opportunities. Finally, members can receive discounts through Phi Kappa Phi's corporate partners, including AT&T Wireless, Apple, Dell and GEICO.
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.