Phi Kappa Phi is one of the largest and oldest honor programs in the nation. The invite-only society spotlights the best of the best from all different fields of study.
Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine. There are chapters in more than 300 campuses in not only the United States, but also Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Weber State University joined the program in 1971 and became the 119th chapter. Most of the top universities in the nation have a Phi Kappa Phi program, and WSU wanted to be a part of that and give the opportunity to the students to be involved with it.
When applying for graduate school or medical school, being a part of Phi Kappa Phi can make a student stand out from other candidates. The program only celebrates upperclassmen with high academic standards. PKP only sends out invitations for joining to the top 7.5 percent of juniors, and the top 10 percent of senior and graduate students.
“I think when it first started, a lot of the students were relieved that there weren’t a lot of activities involved with it,” said Leanna Riddle, the honors program office manager. “This isn’t so true now, but in the past they wanted to spend their time doing homework.”
Right now, the program doesn’t do much service work, but under the direction of Rick Ford, WSU’s Phi Kappa Phi president, that will change.
“We’re trying to come up with a service project for the spring semester that esteemed members could participate in,” Ford said. “We’re looking for a project that’s going to have something that gives back to academics and literacy.”
WSU sends out invitations to 500 to 600 students each year, but only about 150 actually join. The major reason is the cost of the membership. For a WSU student, it costs $75. This includes membership for a year, the certificate of membership and a pin. This year, though, the WSU Alumni Association has given money to Phi Kappa Phi, and the cost will only be $60 for induction. It can still be a steep price for some students in college.
Scholarships are available for members of Phi Kappa Phi. Monetary awards are given to seniors, and book scholarships to juniors.
“We work with the alumni center, who’s been wonderful to help support some of these scholarships; we’re very grateful to them,” said Marilyn Diamond, the honors program adviser. “Every year they pick one outstanding student, and then that student can apply for the national scholarships that are available.”
WSU has had four recipients of the national scholarship, which grants around $5,000 to each winner.
The chapter has also won the chapter merit award twice since it was initiated. This means WSU has sent reports in on time, the board does what it needs and is supposed to do, and the initiation ceremony is up to national standards.
Students interested in the Phi Kappa Phi program may visit the national website at www.phikappaphi.org or the honors program office in the Stewart Library Room 225.