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Source: Stephen Kiefer, 785-532-2642,
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Friday, March 13, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa has been named one of the top 15 chapters in the nation. The chapter is now being considered for the Exemplary Chapter Award, which goes to three chapters in the U.S. each year.

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most distinguished academic honor society in America. There are 276 active chapters currently, representing only 10 percent of the institutions of higher learning in the nation.

K-State's chapter -- Beta of Kansas -- was established in 1974. Students who become members of the organization have demonstrated academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, as well as a dedication to a breadth of topics, depth of understanding and a diversity of opinion. Students are invited to become members of Phi Beta Kappa in the spring.

Stephen Kiefer, director of K-State's university honors program and secretary/treasurer of K-State's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, attributes the success of K-State's chapter to both the organization's history and the caliber of students at K-State.

"We have an extremely high rate of acceptance for our invitations. Over 90 percent and, in some years, 100 percent of our invitations are accepted," he said. "This reflects both the prestige that comes with the honor and the fact that we select those students who have achieved the highest level of academic performance."

K-State's chapter also sponsors visiting scholars to support the intellectual climate of the university, Kiefer said. For example, on April 14, Robert Richards, the Morris Fishbein Professor of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago, will lecture on the history and philosophy of biology and psychology, as it relates to the work of Charles Darwin. The time and location will be announced at a later date. Richards will also be available to meet with student groups or classes during his visit.