The golden key is widely
recognized as a symbol of academic achievement.
The letters FBK are
the initials of the Greek Motto, Philosophiae Biou Kubernetes,
meaning "Philosophy [the love of wisdom] is the Guide of
Life." The three stars represent the original principles
of the Society: friendship, morality, learning. The key
today looks much as it did more than 225 years ago.
Phi Beta Kappa is the
nations oldest and most prestigious academic
honor society. Since its founding in Virginia
in 1776, the Society has fostered and recognized
excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, and its
gold key is widely recognized as a symbol of academic
distinction. Students elected to Phi Beta Kappa
have shown themselves devoted to intellectual
pursuits and to the objectives of a liberal
education: not merely knowledge but also
breadth of interest, depth of understanding, and
respect for a diversity of informed opinion. There
are 262 chapters of Phi Beta Kappa; only about 10% of
institutions of higher learning have chapters. There
are two in the state of Kansas.