The above picture was taken from a brochure published by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, 1606 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009. telephone: (202)-265-3808, fax: (202)-986-1601.
Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's preeminent honor society for the liberal arts, has established chapters at a select group of colleges and universities. Election to membership is a special honor reserved for approximately the top ten percent of each graduating class. A group of juniors meeting even higher standards may be selected each year. Election is based on performance in liberal arts courses only, excluding courses in professional schools, internships, practica and other pre-professional courses.
In the past at Binghamton, several methods were used to identify students potentially qualified for membership, including advertising, word-of-mouth, and computer pre-selection based on gpa. Selection required many hours of faculty time to analyze transcripts against a set of complex criteria.
To bring our chapter more in line with the standards of the national Phi Beta Kappa organization, which uses the gpa as the basis for selection, and to make the procedure more accurate and efficient, the officers of our chapter have entirely revised the process. details of the new procedure -- in effect since 1994 -- are given below. All students who are eligible will be found and notified. No applications are required.
For each student, let total equal the total number of credit hours passed. Let transfer equal the number of hours of transfer credits from non-binghamton sponsored programs and let exam equal the number of exam hours. Let indep equal the number of credit hours for independent study and let indepexcess equal indep - 8 if indep is greater than 8, 0 if indep is less than or equal to 8. Let ineligible equal the number of credit hours from ineligible courses, which are defined below. Let eligible = total - transfer - exam - indepexcess - ineligible. Let egpa be the grade point average computed from just the eligible credits. If some indep credits are included in eligible, but indepexcess is not equal to 0, then the 8 indep credits included in the egpa calculation should be those with the best grades.
We define juniors to be those students with total between 80 and 107, and seniors to be those with total at least 108. Let seniors and juniors be the total numbers of seniors and juniors, respectively.
The following courses are ineligible.
A maximum of eight credits of independent study courses will be eligible. Courses in foreign language study as well as conversation are eligible. Credits taken abroad under binghamton-sponsored overseas programs as indicated in the bulletin, are not considered to be transfer credits.
The Phi Beta Kappa Society is a leading national advocate for the value of arts and sciences education. Our newest program and scholarship opportunity, Key into Public Service, highlights the wide range of opportunities for arts, humanities, natural science, social science, and mathematics majors to pursue rewarding careers in the public sector.
Each scholar will receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship and will participate in a conference that provides training, mentoring, and reflection on pathways into local, state, and federal government careers.
In the fall, the Society will invite applications from arts and sciences students attending chapter institutions. PBK membership is not a prerequisite. Characteristics of ideal recipients include intellectual curiosity, breadth, and depth of liberal arts and sciences coursework, leadership propensity, and service to others.
Scholarship recipients will participate in an educational conference in Washington, DC from June 21-25, 2023, which will provide training, mentoring, and reflection on pathways into local, state, and federal government careers. The application opens on November 1.
More details and the application form for this scholarship can be found through the following link: Key into Public Service Program.
In 2023 we are proud to announce that a Binghamton student, Erica Albert. was one of only 20 students selected from over 900 applicants for the Key into Public Service scholarship. The following link takes you to the official Phi Beta Kappa Scholars announcment page: Key Into Public Service Scholars 2023.
The following link takes you to a pdf file containing the current Phi Beta Kappa handbook. It has important information of interest to all new members: Phi Beta Kappa Handbook for new members.
The next induction ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, April 28, 2024, at 11:00 AM in the Chamber Hall of the Anderson Center. Invitation emails and paper invitation letters will be sent out in late February and early March, 2024, inviting three groups of students to the induction ceremony: (1) Those students who qualified and already joined based on their grades after the Spring 2023 semester, (2) Those students who qualified based on their grades after the Fall 2023 semester, (3) Those students who were selected as juniors and joined within the last two years were invited to attend the ceremony along with the faculty and staff members, and favorite faculty invited by the inductees, to welcome the new student members. The students in the first group should begin getting the Key Reporter Phi Beta Kappa Magazine after we validate their memberships with the national organization. The students in the second group need to send in their registration fee (which should now be paid online) and must register online using the directions included in the invitation.
The ceremony usually takes less than one hour, followed by a reception with refreshments in the lobby outside of the Chamber Hall. All student, faculty and staff members and their families are invited to the induction, along with favorite faculty members selected by the inductees.
There is no special dress code for this event, but inductees will at one point be asked to come up on the stage to get their membership certificate, sign the chapter roll book and be congratulated by Phi Beta Kappa faculty and members. Many inductees dress up a bit, especially if they expect to have their picture taken by proud family members.
The last two induction ceremonies for our chapter were on April 30, 2023, and May 8, 2022, in person in the Chamber Hall of the Anderson Center. The one before that was on May 2, 2021, at 11:00 AM as a virtual ceremony conducted using Zoom. A link to the Panopto recording for that event is here: Panopto recording of the May 2, 2021 Phi Beta Kappa Virtual Induction Ceremony. Here is a link to a pdf file containing the: Induction Program for the May 8, 2022 induction ceremony and here is a link to a pdf file containing the: Induction Program for the May 2, 2021 induction ceremony.
Through the generosity of William and Sharon Hohauser (classes of 1981 and 1982, respectively), a scholarship fund has been established for a junior who has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, with preference for a Binghamton Scholar who has participated in club sports. Established in 2005, the funds for this scholarship have reached a level where the first scholarship award was made to a qualified student inducted in 2010. The award, to be announced at the Induction Ceremony, will be given to the selected student in their senior year. In 2017 the donors modified their scholarship to give primary preference to a Binghamton Scholar, and secondary preference to a club sports participant. No application is necessary for the award, but juniors who participate in club sports are encouraged to identify themselves and describe their club and intramural sports activities when accepting membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Those juniors who are Binghamton Scholars should also identify themselves, but will be provided by the Binghamton Scholars Program to the selection committee.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2010 was awarded to Scott H. Greenberg. Scott qualified as a junior, was inducted at the April 11, 2010 ceremony, and has participated is several club/intramural sports at Binghamton University.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2011 was awarded to Tara-Marie Lynch. Tara-Marie qualified as a junior, was inducted at the April 3, 2011 ceremony, and has participated is club/intramural sports at Binghamton University.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2012 was awarded to Anne Keating O'Connor. Anne qualified as a junior and was inducted at the April 21, 2012 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2013 was awarded to Aaron Taggart. Aaron qualified as a junior and was inducted at the April 7, 2013 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2014 was awarded to Andrew Russell BeltCappellino. Andrew qualified as a junior and was inducted at the May 4, 2014 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2015 was awarded to Randall T. Swyers. Randall qualified as a junior and was inducted at the May 3, 2015 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2016 was awarded to Samuel Zvi Hanz. Samuel qualified as a junior and was inducted at the May 1, 2016 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2017 was awarded to John M. Petersen. John qualified as a junior and was inducted at the April 23, 2017 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2018 was awarded to Yuto J. Tobin-Miyaji. Yuto qualified as a junior and was scheduled to be inducted at the April 22, 2018 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2019 was awarded to Bethany Maloney. Bethany qualified as a junior and was inducted at the May 12, 2019 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2020 was awarded to Carolyn R. Fon. Carolyn qualified as a junior and was inducted at the virtual November 8, 2020 virtual ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2021 was awarded to Pluto (Minxin) Wang. Pluto qualified as a junior and was inducted at the May 2, 2021 virtual ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2022 was awarded to Shanti Astra. Shanti qualified as a junior and was inducted at the May 8, 2022 ceremony.
The William and Sharon Hohauser Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship for 2023 was awarded to Kate Langsdorf. Kate qualified as a junior and was inducted at the April 30, 2023 ceremony.
Students who join our chapter sometimes ask if we have honor cords to wear at commencement. There has been so little demand for honor cords that we have not provided them, but students can easily order cords from the same company that makes our membership certificates. Here is a link to the page with the cords, keys and membership certificates.
Hand & Hammer Silversmiths
The precise link for ordering them is at the bottom of this page:Phi Beta Kappa Honor Cords
On December 5, 1776, a group of young men, students of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, meeting in the Apollo room of the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, formed the Phi Beta Kappa society, which they dedicated to high purposes with eighteenth-century eloquence. Chapters were established at Yale in 1780 and at Harvard in 1781, which ensured the perpetuation and propagation of the society when the parent chapter became inactive. During the following half century, four more chapters were founded: at Dartmouth in 1787, at Union in 1817, at Bowdoin in 1825, and at Brown in 1830. At the end of a century of growth, twenty-five chapters had been founded.
In 1883, the national body, the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, was organized. At present there are 283 chapters.
In 1875, the society extended the privilege of membership to women. In 1926, the 150th anniversary of the society's birth was made the occasion for raising an endowment fund and for exploring ways of encouraging scholarship in the educational institutions of this country. The Society now continues, well into its third century of existence, as the beacon of academic excellence and the symbol of scholarship in the liberal arts. In 1971, in recognition of this University's eminence in the liberal arts, the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa approved the chartering of this chapter, Psi of New York.
The original Phi Beta Kappa at William and Mary was a secret society. But as a result of anti-Masonic agitation in the 1830s, most of the chapters followed the lead of Harvard and repealed that injunction of secrecy. They retained, however, the medal or key with its symbolic engraving, which can be purchased from a company selected by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
The present key, except for its smaller size and the lower stem added by the branch at Yale, is substantially the same as the original medal of the first chapter at William and Mary. It bears, on the obverse, the Greek letters, Phi Beta Kappa, the initials of the words Philosophia Biou Kubernetes, meaning ``The love of wisdom is the helmsman of life.'' In the upper left corner, three stars symbolize the aims of the society; Friendship, Morality and Literature. A pointing hand symbolizes aspiration. On the reverse, the letters S P represent the second name of the society, Societas Philosophiae, the society of the love of knowledge. Below them is the historic date of the society's founding, December 5, 1776, above; the name of the member is inscribed.
More details about the history of Phi Beta Kappa can be found through the above link to the national society webpages.
I am sometimes asked by qualified students what is the value of membership in Phi Beta Kappa. That is not a trivial question to answer, especially considering that there is a registration and initiation fee, and that there are other honor societies with different purposes contending for members. We find many people we invite refuse to join because they have never heard of Phi Beta Kappa, they think it has no value to them, or they cannot afford it. I would like to address the issues briefly here, but you should not just take my advice, rather you should ask parents, relatives, other professors, what they think of Phi Beta Kappa and what it means to qualify and join. There is also a website for the national Phi Beta Kappa Society on which more historical information can be found.
First, there are not so many colleges and universities that even have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and it is not possible to qualify unless your school has a chapter. It was a distinct honor for Harpur College to be granted a charter to open a chapter in 1971, based on a rigorous evaluation of our liberal arts program by a committee of the national organization. Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest liberal arts honor society in the United States (founded in 1776), and set the pattern for many other honor societies. So joining makes you part of a long proud tradition of scholars at the highest level of liberal arts education.
What are some of the benefits of joining? It certainly adds a special polish to your resume, which will be recognized by well-educated people and academics. In fact, if you ever worked as a faculty or staff member at a college or university having a chapter, you could participate in their activities and would be entitled to vote in elections of officers and in the selection of qualified students. You may say that the main activity is the election of new members, to honor their high academic achievements, and that is not so valuable to you personally. But the main purpose of the society is the encouragement and promotion of the liberal arts, which get little other support in this country. So many students are just looking for a job, technical training, but there is a deeper tradition of the value of a liberal arts education to enrich the life of the mind. What other society speaks up for that? We do sometimes have speakers (PBK visiting scholars) give talks on campus, but they are open to the public, not just chapter members. We are not a service organization, nor do we raise money for any charity. We do not have tedious meetings, nor do we have student officers because of the sensitive nature of the academic records which must be examined to determine qualified students. Your initiation and registration fee is a one-time lifetime investment which says that you support liberal arts education, not just technical training, in our university. Most of the fee goes to support the national organization, for the visiting scholar program, scholarly book awards and other national programs for the liberal arts. The rest of the fee is used to pay for the individually printed membership certificates and for our chapter to pay for the annual induction ceremony, reception, and mailing expenses associated with the selection process. None of the chapter officers receive any funds for their work, which is a completely voluntary donation of service to the university by faculty and staff who believe strongly in the value of the liberal arts, and in the strong recognition of excellence in academics. If the fee is a real hardship, some students find relatives who think it is worth it and contribute. I know my parents were very proud when I qualified and were happy to pay the fee, which was much less in 1971, when I qualified at Johns Hopkins University.
Since most students are elected to Phi Beta Kappa in their senior year, it does not allow time for students to do very much as members while at school. But many chapters reach out to members who live nearby, and organize them into groups of Phi Beta Kappa associates who may have intellectually stimulating events. Perhaps you will contact an associates group where you settle after college, or organize a new one, and become as deeply involved in Phi Beta Kappa as you like. Or you can just leave it behind as a final capstone to your academic career.
I hope my comments are of some help to qualified students who are still deciding whether or not to join. If new members have some ideas for activities you would like to see our chapter do, consistent with our philosophy and goals, please contact me personally. Congratulations to all students whose excellent academic work in the liberal arts qualified them for Phi Beta Kappa.
Phi Theta Kappa is a honor society for students at 2-year colleges and international schools. Binghamton University awards several scholarships each fall semester to members of Phi Theta Kappa. Selection is competitive, and to be considered an application is required by March 15. For further information contact 607-777-2171 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are very pleased to announce that Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, Prof. Ken Ono (Jefferson Professor of Mathematics, University of Virginia), will be (virtually) visiting Binghamton University to give three talks, two on Thursday, March 11, and one on Friday, March 12, 2021. The titles and abstracts for these talks are below, and links to the zoom meetings for each one will be posted when available. Of particular interest is the public talk aimed at a general audience and open to the entire Binghamton community.
Ken Ono is the Thomas Jefferson Professor of Mathematics at the University of Virginia and the Vice President of the American Mathematical Society. He earned his PhD from UCLA in 1993, and he has published several monographs and over 180 research and popular articles in number theory, combinatorics and algebra. Professor Ono has received many awards for his research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship. He was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) by Bill Clinton in 2000 and he was named the National Science Foundation's Distinguished Teaching Scholar in 2005. He was also an associate producer of the 2016 Hollywood film "The Man Who Knew Infinity," which starred Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel.
Title: What is the Riemann Hypothesis, and why does it matter?
Abstract. The Riemann hypothesis provides insights into the distribution of prime numbers, stating that the nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function have a “real part” of one-half. A proof of the hypothesis would be world news and fetch a $1 million Millennium Prize. In this lecture, Ken Ono will discuss the mathematical meaning of the Riemann hypothesis and why it matters. Along the way, he will tell tales of mysteries about prime numbers and highlight new advances.
A link to a Panopto recording of the above Math Club Talk is here:
Panopto recording of the above Math Club Undergrad talk.
Title: Gauss’ Class Number Problem
Abstract. In 1798 Gauss wrote Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, the first rigorous text in number theory. This book laid the groundwork for modern algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry. Perhaps the most important contribution in the work is Gauss's theory of integral quadratic forms, which appears prominently in modern number theory (sums of squares, Galois theory, rational points on elliptic curves,L-functions, the Riemann Hypothesis, to name a few). Despite the plethora of modern developments in the field, Gauss’s first problem about quadratic forms has not been optimally resolved. Gauss's class number problem asks for the complete list of quadratic form discriminants with class number h. The difficulty is in effective computation, which arises from the fact that the Riemann Hypothesis remains open. To emphasize the subtlety of this problem, we note that the first case, where h=1, remained open until the 1970s. Its solution required deep work of Heegner and Stark, and the Fields medal theory of Baker on linear forms in logarithms. Unfortunately, these methods do not generalize to the cases where h>1. In the 1980s, Goldfeld, and Gross and Zagier famously obtained the first effective class number bounds by making use of deep results on the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture. This lecture will tell the story of Gauss’s class number problem, and will highlight new work by the speaker and Michael Griffin that offers new effective results by different (and also more elementary) means.
A link to a Panopto recording of the above Collouqium Talk is here:
Panopto recording of the above Colloquium talk.
Title: Why does Ramanujan, “The Man Who Knew Infinity”, matter?Abstract: This lecture is about Srinivasa Ramanujan, “The Man Who Knew Infinity.” Ramanujan was a self-trained two-time college dropout who left behind 3 notebooks filled with equations that mathematicians are still trying to figure out today. He claimed that his ideas came to him as visions from an Indian goddess. This lecture gives many reasons why Ramanujan matters today. The answers extend far beyond his legacy in science and mathematics. The speaker was an Associate Producer of the film “The Man Who Knew Infinity” (starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons) about Ramanujan. He will share several clips from the film in the lecture, and will also tell stories about the production and promotion of the film.
A link to a Panopto recording of the above public talk is here:
Panopto recording of the above public talk.
Prof. Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author/editor of thirty books on the New Testament and Early Christianity, delivered a public lecture on March 23, 2017, as Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar. His talk was entitled: ``Did the Early Christians Forget Jesus? Eyewitnesses, Oral Traditions, and Distorted Memories."
Abstract: Scholars of memory in such fields as cognitive psychology (personal memories), sociology (collective memory), and anthropology (oral cultures) have shown how people remember, misremember, forget, and invent memories. Such studies can help us better understand the Gospels of the New Testament as guides to the life of the historical Jesus. Do any of the stories about Jesus represent ``false memories"?
On March 24, 2017, a lunch discussion was held on ``The Vital Role of the Humanities in a 21st-century Liberal Arts Education" at the President's Reception Room, Anderson Center for the Arts.
You may use the following link to download a pdf file of the poster for this event. Ehrman Poster
Prof. Ronald Mellor, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, presented a public lecture at Binghamton University, Nov. 11, 2011 in the Casadesus Recital Hall (Fine Arts 117) at 4:30 PM. A reception followed.
Title: East Meets West: Encounters Along The Ancient ``Silk Road". Long before the dawn of recorded history, traders and migrants moved across vast distances by land and by sea. They did not just carry products - precious metals, fabrics, or foodstuffs - but they brought their own culture with them: languages, writing systems, new forms of agricultural technology, animals, and even their diseases and systems of belief.
The most famous of these trade routes - the ``Silk Road" - stretched from China to the Mediterranean. Though this wonderfully exotic term conjures up a superhighway 5,000 miles long across Eurasia, there was no such thing as a ``Silk Road." Rather there were many individual roads, desert tracks, and mountain passes through which traders and nomads, armies and missionaries passed in both directions across the Eurasian steppe. We usually focus on the great civilizations at either end of this long trading network - Rome, Byzantium and the Near East at the western end, and imperial China in the East - but today's lecture will also examine the peoples and activities across the less known expanse of Central Asia.
Background of the speaker: Ronald J. Mellor, Distinguished Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles.
Ronald Mellor is professor of history at UCLA, where he has been teaching Greek and Roman history since 1976. He served as chair of the department from 1992 to 1997. His research has centered on ancient religion and Roman historiography, and he is the author of Thea Rome: The Goddess Roma in the Greek World; Tacitus; The Roman Historians; Tacitus: The Classical Heritage; Augustus and the Creation of the Roman Empire; and Tacitus' Annals (forthcoming, 2010). In connection with his award-winning work with teachers in the California History-Social Science Project, he served as the coeditor of The World in Ancient Times, a series of nine volumes for young readers (Oxford University Press).
His teaching has included frequent travel study courses in Rome, Florence, and Greece. He has been a fellow or visitor at University College London, the Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University, the American Academy in Rome, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has held fellowships from the NEH and the ACLS.
You may use the following link to download a pdf file of the poster for this event. Mellor Poster
The following link takes you to a list of Faculty and Staff who are members of Phi Beta Kappa, elected by the chapters where they went to college or university.Faculty Staff Members
At the April 22, 2018, induction ceremony, Harvey G. Stenger, President of Binghamton University, was inducted into our chapter as an honorary member. The following picture, taken just after the induction, shows (left to right) Alex Feingold (President of the Psi Chapter of New York), Harvey G. Stenger (newly inducted honorary member), John Starks (Secretary/Treasurer of our chapter), and Clifford Kern (Historian of our chapter).
The following links take you to lists of students who qualified for Phi Beta Kappa at Binghamton University since 1997. These lists were taken from the Induction Ceremony Programs, and include those who qualified and joined after the Spring semester and those who qualified after the following Fall semester.PBK 2023
Links back to:
Webpage of Alex Feingold,
Department of Mathematical Sciences,