Honors Societies

The Honors College supports the collegiate honors societies of the Honors Society Caucus and encourages you to consider membership. Please use this website to learn more about these societies and what they stand for. If you have been invited to accept membership in a collegiate honor society, it means that you have been recognized for your accomplishments and character. But did you know that the meaning of the invitation depends on the purpose and stature of the society?

The purpose of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa as honor societies is to celebrate excellence in academics and integrity of character. They exist because those who founded them believed, as we believe still, that there are achievements worthy of celebration: academic work of extraordinary quality, exemplary leadership and research that advances human knowledge.

Invitations recognize distinguished performance in study, research or leadership, sustained over a period of years. They are typically extended late in the undergraduate career or even after graduation, marking the transition from accomplished work of high merit to further exceptional attainment. Honorifics vary in value, so it is important to find out which ones matter the most. These four societies do not aim to supply a mere credential, belonging adds more than a certificate of your grade point average or listing on your resume. In the wider world, membership in one of these organizations is understood as an honor that is neither cheaply won nor widely bestowed.

Ask your advisors, mentors or faculty members about these societies. Visit their websites and examine their histories, governance and programs. Contact their individual national headquarters if you have any questions. If you have been honored with an invitation, congratulations; you are in excellent company.

The National Leadership Honor Society
Founded at Washington & Lee University, 1914
www.odk.org

Sigma Xi
The Scientific Research Society Omicron Delta Kappa
Founded at Cornell University, 1886
www.sigmaxi.org


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The Phi Beta Kappa Society
Founded at the College of William and Mary, 1776
www.pbk.org

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The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
Founded at the University of Maine, 1897
www.phikappaphi.org