The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society for the liberal arts and sciences, granted a new charter to Loyola Marymount University following a rigorous three-year application process.

LMU is one of only four institutions invited to shelter a new Phi Beta Kappa chapter, bringing the total number nationwide to 290 — reflective of roughly 10 percent of U.S. colleges and universities.

“I thank the Phi Beta Kappa selection committee for recognizing LMU’s steadfast commitment to academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. This honor is a testament to the soaring achievements of our ambitious students and our dedicated faculty, who pursue the depths of intellectual curiosity with vigor and purpose,” said LMU President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. “We are eager to induct our inaugural members, whose impactful accomplishments as our world’s future leaders and innovators will make LMU and Phi Beta Kappa proud.”

Prospective inductees to The Phi Beta Kappa Society, established in 1776, are usually seniors who are among the top 10 percent of their graduating class, and who have completed a broad range of liberal arts and science coursework, including foreign language study and mathematics. Once LMU’s chapter is installed — likely during the 2018-19 academic year — qualified seniors, and in some instances, juniors, will become eligible for nomination by their professors.

“The fact that the nation’s oldest academic honor society will have a chapter at LMU speaks to the university’s rigorous programs and the high standards to which we hold our faculty members and students,” said LMU Provost and Executive Vice President Thomas Poon, Ph.D. “I applaud the dedicated faculty members and administrators who have helped to successfully guide the university through the application process.”   

In addition to inducting students, the Phi Beta Kappa Society sponsors campus activities and events such as teaching awards, public lectures, writing prizes, book awards, fellowships and scholarships. 

Nearly 50 LMU faculty and staff who were themselves inducted into The Phi Beta Kappa Society when they were undergraduate students will lead the university’s chapter, overseeing student selection and induction and conferring lifelong membership in the society. 

“The establishment of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter signals LMU’s deep commitment to the values of a broad-based education focused on the arts and sciences, during a time when the liberal arts are increasingly called into question,” said Nicolas G. Rosenthal, associate professor of history and faculty chair of LMU’s Phi Beta Kappa application committee. “And it rewards our students who obtain academic excellence and embrace the values of a liberal arts education with a mark of the highest distinction, along with lifelong membership in a community that encourages free thought, vibrant engagement, and a love for learning.”

LMU has hosted since 1939 a chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu — a national honor society comparable in status to Phi Beta Kappa within the Jesuit network, recognizing students of Jesuit institutions for their scholarship, loyalty and service. While requirements are different, qualified students may be inducted to one or the other, or both organizations.

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