Love of Learning is the Guide to Life
Five students at the College of William & Mary founded Phi Beta Kappa during the American Revolution to advance their chosen motto, “Love of Learning is the Guide to Life.” A new nation would require institutions – cultural as well as political – as a grounding force and elevating influence in turbulent times. What began as a secret debating society in the midst of war became something very different over the course of the next two centuries. Phi Beta Kappa grew along with American higher education into an organization grounded in liberal – as in the Latin word for “free” – arts and sciences learning and freedom of inquiry. Today, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s most prestigious honor society, known for recognizing academic excellence on 290 select campuses across the nation. More than 500,000 members come from diverse backgrounds and experiences
. On campuses and in communities, the work of the Society now attests to the lifelong value of an education that fosters scientific inquiry, liberty of conscience, critical thinking, and creative endeavor for all.