About

The Alpha Chapter of Nebraska, since 1895 Recognizing and encouraging
a commitment to excellence
in the liberal arts

Girl in classroom

Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most respected honorary society in the United States with chapters at 283 of the foremost institutions of higher education across the country. The organization recognizes and encourages a commitment to excellence in the liberal arts.

One cannot apply for membership to Phi Beta Kappa. Rather, almost all members are elected from candidates for degrees in the liberal arts and sciences who are in the top 5 to 10 percent of the graduating class at institutions that have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

The Alpha Chapter of Nebraska was chartered at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1895 and elected its first members in 1896. The membership and activities of the organization have reflected their respective times. The local chapter has held meetings, sponsored occasional programs, talks, and lectures, and elected a full slate of new members.

The Alpha chapter is an unusual combination of an academic chapter and a community association. The chapter has always operated with that dual capacity, and members are proud to have a combination chapter in which officers and support for our activities come from both groups. New members are elected by the academic chapter members.

President: STEPHEN LAHEY
Vice-President: T. B. A.
Secretary: ROBERT GORMAN

Treasurer: BETH WHITAKER
Membership Secretary: ROBERT GORMAN
Historian: KATHLEEN JOHNSON

17 U.S. Presidents, 39 Supreme Court Justices, and more than 130 Nobel Laureates are Phi Beta Kappa members.

Only 10% of colleges and universities have been granted chapters, and only about 10% of arts and sciences students at those schools are invited to join.

Phi Beta Kappa membership is:

  • a mark of distinction for life
  • the gold standard among employers
  • a prestigious network of exceptional people
  • a door to lifelong intellectual opportunities
  • a springboard to helping the arts and sciences thrive
Phi Beta Kappa logo

You are here because you’ve made a habit of excellence. Occasional brilliance will not get you into Phi Beta Kappa. You are not one-subject wonders. You’ve established your intellectual credentials in a wide range of subjects. The excellence that brings you here is not accidental. You have chosen to pursue it, and you have earned it. You’ve broken the code of how to get it done. And that stays with you for life.

John D. Zeglis, former chairman and CEO of AT&T Wireless