For immediate release April 28, 2016

The Phi Beta Kappa Society Installs its 286th Chapter at Oregon State University

WASHINGTON, DC — Today The Phi Beta Kappa Society installed it newest chapter at Oregon State University (OSU) in a special ceremony at the Learning Innovation Center, home of the University Honors College, at OSU’s Corvallis campus, 

The new Epsilon of Oregon becomes the 286th Phi Beta Kappa chapter installed in the Society’s 240-year history. 

Phi Beta Kappa President Catherine White Berheide presided over the installation ceremony, which took place in a sophisticated, arena-style lecture hall with 360-degree projection displays. Immediately following the installation, the new chapter inducted nearly 200 Oregon State University juniors and seniors, who were invited to join the Society because of their outstanding accomplishments in the liberal arts and sciences.

“OSU has built a strong infrastructure of excellence across the liberal arts and sciences, as evidenced by its student achievement, the quality of its faculty, and evolving, innovative approaches to learning,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill. “To be granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter is an effort of many years on the part of faculty who are Phi Beta Kappa members and others at an institution.”

The chapter also inducted four Foundation members, selected in honor of their achievements and ongoing commitment to the arts and sciences. Foundation members are: writer and educator Ta-Nehisi Coates, and OSU graduates Jon DeVaan, Patricia Reser and Patrick Stone. A Phi Beta Kappa chapter many induct Foundation members only at installation.

OSU President Edward J. Ray, a Phi Beta Kappa member inducted as an undergraduate at Queens College, City University of New York, spoke at the event. “I’m excited about the prospect of offering Phi Beta Kappa membership to some of Oregon State’s many high-achieving students,” said Ray. “Becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa had a profound impact on my life and on my career as a leader of higher education.”

Ray and his late wife, Beth, established a fund at OSU that will provide assistance for eligible Phi Beta Kappa students who don’t have the resources to pay the society’s lifetime membership fee. Because of the generosity of the Rays, and with support from several other OSU administrators, OSU covered membership fees for all students in its inaugural class of inductees.

“OSU’s Phi Beta Kappa graduates will be tomorrow’s critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers,” Churchill said. “We are very pleased to recognize OSU’s commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and look forward to the chapter’s bright future.” 

Only about 10 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities shelter Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Prospective inductees are usually seniors among the top 10 percent of their graduating class who have completed a broad range of liberal arts and science coursework, including foreign language study and mathematics. Exceptional students meeting the society’s requirements may also be considered as juniors.


About Oregon State University

OSU is one of only two U.S. universities designated a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution. OSU is also Oregon’s only university to hold both the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation for research institutions and its prestigious Community Engagement classification. Its approximately 30,000 students come from all 50 states and more than 109 nations. OSU programs touch every county within Oregon, and its faculty teaches and conducts research on issues of national and global importance.

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