Letter to the LMU Community
August 3, 2018
I share exciting news: Loyola Marymount University has been selected to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society. This hard-earned honor speaks to our rigorous programs and the high standards we expect of our faculty and students.
Founded in 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is considered America’s most prestigious academic honor society, highlighting education in the liberal arts and sciences. Before a chapter is sheltered, a university undergoes an extensive evaluation process. LMU’s effort, led by Nick Rosenthal, associate professor of history and faculty chair of the process, began with a 237-page pre-application submitted in November 2015. Based on its positive review, LMU advanced as one of seven finalists and was invited to submit a 480-page full application, which we did in November 2016. LMU then hosted four members of the PBK Committee on Qualifications in March 2017; the three-day visit included 32 meetings and involved more than 150 members of the LMU community. Earlier this year, following a vote of the PBK Senate, LMU was formally invited, along with three other institutions, to send representatives to the 45th Triennial Council of The Phi Beta Kappa Society where the final vote took place.
About 50 current LMU faculty and staff members were inducted into PBK as undergraduates at other universities and colleges. Once LMU’s chapter is installed – likely during the 2018-19 academic year – qualified seniors, and in some instances, juniors, would become eligible for nomination by their professors. In addition to chapter business, Phi Beta Kappa chapters also sponsor campus programs and activities including: nationally selected visiting scholars; public lectures; teaching awards; fellowships and scholarships; writing prizes; and book awards.
Prior to LMU, thirteen of the 28 Jesuit institutions in the U.S. had chapters of PBK. Creighton University was the most recent, awarded in 2012. Santa Clara University was previously the only Jesuit institution in the West with a chapter, established in 1977.
LMU has hosted since 1939 a chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, a national honor society comparable in status to Phi Beta Kappa within the Jesuit network, recognizing students of Jesuit institutions for their scholarship, loyalty and service. While requirements are different, qualified students may be inducted to one or the other, or both organizations.
We can all take pride in this recognition as evidence of LMU’s growing national renown, and give a hearty thank you to Professor Rosenthal, Vice Provost David Sapp, Deans Bryant Alexander, Tina Choe, and Robbin Crabtree, and the many faculty and staff members who assisted during this three-year application process.
Thomas Poon, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost