Phi Beta Kappa (ΦBK) is the oldest and most prestigious academic honorary society in the U.S. Members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 42 Supreme Court Justices, and more than 150 Nobel Laureates, as well as Oberlin's own President Carmen Ambar, Dean Kamitsuka, and dozens of our illustrious faculty members.
Our society believes that the academic subjects traditionally called “the liberal arts” are the core of human wisdom. Our motto, Phi Beta Kappa (ΦΒΚ), stands for Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης which means "the love of wisdom is the guide of life."
An invitation to join PBK is a rare honor. Only 10% of U.S. colleges and universities have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. These chapters select only 7-10% of their arts and sciences graduates to join.
Zeta of Ohio, Oberlin’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, was chartered in 1907 and remains the pinnacle of academic achievement. The symbol of Phi Beta Kappa is a key—and it is a key to success, recognized as a sign of excellence by leaders and influencers on every career path.
Students are inducted into the society at a solemn ceremony on the Saturday before graduation, celebrated by their families and friends for this achievement.