For immediate release April 22, 2019

University of South Florida


The Phi Beta Kappa Society Installs 290th Chapter at University of South Florida.

WASHINGTON, DC — The Phi Beta Kappa Society installed a new chapter at the University of South Florida today at a ceremony at the Marshall Student Center Following the installation, the new Eta of Florida chapter inducted 67 students, selected for their excellence in the arts and sciences. 

Frederick M. Lawrence, Phi Beta Kappa Secretary/CEO, Lynn Pasquerella, Phi Beta Kappa Society president and president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and Charles Adams, Dean of the Honors College and president of the new chapter, presided over the installation and induction ceremonies. University leaders, including President Judy Genshaft, Phi Beta Kappa faculty and staff, and the chapter’s newly inducted students enjoyed a reception following the ceremonies to celebrate the chapter’s installation.

Lawrence acknowledged the significance of the occasion, saying: “At every level of the institution, the University of South Florida is committed to providing an excellent liberal arts education for its diverse student community. We are confident that commitment will stand the test of time, enabling this chapter, and its exceptional students, to thrive.”

Prospective Phi Beta Kappa inductees are usually seniors among the top 10 percent of their graduating class who have completed a broad range of liberal arts and sciences coursework, including foreign language study and mathematics.

The Eta of Florida chapter also inducted several Foundation members, each chosen for their commitment to the ideals of the liberal arts and sciences, including:  

  • Samuel Bell, former Florida House of Representatives Majority Leader, and Betty Castor, the fifth president of the University of South Florida
  • University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft and philanthropist Steven Greenbaum
  • Brian Lamb, member of the Board of Governors of the State University System, and former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida
  • Paul Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation
  • Carol and Frank Morsani, founders of the Morsani College of Medicine and the Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare
  • Pam and Les Muma, founders of the Muma College of Business
  • Terrell Sessums, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and Chairman of the Florida Board of Regents
  • Ralph Wilcox, Provost of the University of South Florida

“We are delighted to honor these tremendous friends of the university and of higher education, along with our remarkable students,” chapter president Charles Adams stated. “This is a very important day in the history of the University of South Florida. Sheltering a chapter serves to confirm our standing as a premier national university, and speaks to the quality of our academic culture and the excellent education that we provide for our students.”

University of South Florida becomes the 290th U.S. college or university to shelter a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Installations of new chapters occur only every three years and follow an intensive, multi-year application and evaluation process that includes two rounds of data collection and a visit from members of the Phi Beta Kappa Committee on Qualifications. Among the criteria reviewed are the university’s educational rigor in the arts and sciences, governance structure, faculty excellence, demonstrated commitment to academic freedom, and institutional dedication to liberal education.

In addition to the Eta of Florida chapter, Phi Beta Kappa chapters were installed earlier this month at Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, and Chapman University, Orange, CA.

New members at the University of South Florida.

About The University of South Florida

The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three separately accredited institutions: USF, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 50,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.8 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF ranks in the top 25 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2018, the Florida Board of Governors designated USF as a Preeminent State Research University, placing USF in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

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, 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 40 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 140 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