Phi Beta Kappa's Public Programs

One of the most important ways that Phi Beta Kappa advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and encourages thoughtful engagement and dialogue is by offering public lectures and events.  Most of these are free and open to the public.

The Society sponsors numerous lectures of scholarly and general interest through its Visiting Scholar Program, Romanell-ΦBK Professorship, Fellows Lectures program, and the Phi Beta Kappa Lecture Series. Our lectures are given by top scholars and professionals outside of academe on a wide variety of subjects.

In the spring of 2008, the Society launched the ΦBK Traveling Exhibit, a collection of images that tells the story of Phi Beta Kappa, its members, and its place in academe and American history. The exhibit is hosted by ΦBK chapters and associations, and it opens in a new location every few months.

Being a part of Phi Beta Kappa is about much more than just getting your key! To find events in your area, search our Online Calendar


Supported by a grant from the John W. Mellon Foundation, the Couper Scholar Program was designed to provide contact between the Society and institutions that do not shelter chapters. The purpose of the program was to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between a guest scholar and the resident faculty and students. The Couper Scholars completed their tours in spring 2007.

Funded by a grant from the Teagle Foundation, Deliberation about Things that Matter emphasized the application of learning and scholarship in the examination of important topics. Program activities combined seminars, discussions, forums, and other forms of instructional engagement and supported chapters in championing liberal arts education on their campuses. The program was completed in 2007.

Special Events for Members and Donors

The Secretary's Circle holds its annual Gala Weekend in Washington, D.C., each spring. The Gala Weekend includes tours of museums and cultural sites, a black-tie dinner with a keynote speaker and a private briefing from the Society's executive secretary. Members of the Secretary's Circle are the Society's highest-level annual donors. All ΦBK members are welcome to join.

The Fellows of ΦBK
, our oldest major donor group, hosts an annual luncheon for the Couper Lectureship and an annual black-tie dinner to honor the recipient of the Fellows Award. Membership in the Fellows is by invitation only.

ΦBK's Book Awards are presented every December at a black-tie dinner held in conjunction with a meeting of the ΦBK Senate. The awards are given in three categories in the liberal arts and sciences, and the dinner incorporates a formal awards ceremony with a keynote speaker. Members of the ΦBK Senate, the Fellows and the Secretary's Circle are invited to attend.

The Council of Phi Beta Kappa, the Society's legislative body, convenes every three years. At this meeting, the ΦBK Senate is joined by delegates from chapters and associations, members of the Fellows and other guests. Council events include tours of musems and cultural sites, special guest lectures, and presentation of the Humanities Award and the Sidney Hook Award. Selected Council events are open to members.

Partnering with Phi Beta Kappa

Every two years, ΦBK collaborates with the American Conference of Academic Deans to provide a networking and learning conference for academic administrators and professors across the U.S.

ΦBK also sponsors an annual reception on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Professors of the Year. Sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support for Education and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country. It is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Love of learning is the guide of life.