For immediate release December 28, 2015

John Churchill Announces Retirement as Phi Beta Kappa Secretary

WASHINGTON, DC — John Churchill has announced that he will retire as Secretary of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, effective May 31, 2016. Dr. Churchill has served as Secretary, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, since 2001.

In conjunction with his announcement, Dr. Churchill said “I am very grateful for the opportunity to have served as Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa. I have had the privilege to make the case for the value of the arts and sciences for all of life with the help of an excellent, creative staff, an incredibly supportive board, and the many dedicated individuals who work tirelessly in our chapters and alumni associations. I want to thank all of them for their important contributions to my work—and, more importantly, to the Society—over the years.” 

Upon the announcement of Dr. Churchill’s decision to step down as Phi Beta Kappa Secretary, the Society’s President Catherine White Berheide praised Dr. Churchill’s remarkable tenure. “For fourteen years, John’s in-depth understanding of the higher education landscape and the issues facing liberal arts and sciences education has made him an exceptional leader for Phi Beta Kappa. Thanks to John the Society is a more effective advocate for the liberal arts and sciences.” 

President Berheide also added “John firmly believes that the curiosity and creativity cultivated by a liberal arts and sciences education are essential to making the most of life and should be available to everyone, beliefs he made clear in hundreds of speeches around the country. Under his leadership, the Society launched the National Arts & Sciences Initiative, the Secretary’s Circle for major donors, and the Charting Excellence program to strengthen Phi Beta Kappa’s chapters and alumni associations. We feel privileged to have had his counsel for so long, and we wish him well in his retirement with his wife, Jean."


About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States, almost 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 39 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 130 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit