The John Hope Franklin Award


The John Hope Franklin Award recognizes individuals for exemplary, long-standing service to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. 


John Hope Franklin, a distinguished historian, was elected as a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Fisk University in 1953, the year it became the first historically black college to acquire a chapter. In 1973-76, Franklin served as President of the Phi Beta Kappa Society; in 1995, Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, not only for his lifelong work as a student of history, but for his determination to bring about a better understanding of race relations in modern times. This award, created in 2011 and chosen by the ΦBK Staff and Senate, is generally given every three years at the Triennial Council meeting.

Nomination Process

For full consideration, please include:

  • A letter detailing your recommendation of the candidate for this award
  • A copy of the nominee's curriculum vitae 
  • Your contact information as the nominator 

Nominations for this award are accepted every three years. There will be a call for nominations a year and a half prior to each Triennial Council in the Key Reporter, the General Newsletter and social media.


2021 Award Recipient

Jean E. Howard

2018 Recipient


Kate Soule, a third generation Phi Bete, has a long history of active and dedicated service to Phi Beta Kappa. She first became involved in the Dartmouth chapter in 1996, and since then she has held many leadership positions within the chapter.  Her distinguished service to Phi Beta Kappa also includes two terms as a Senator, one term as Vice President, and one term as President of the Society. Soule is currently the Secretary-Treasurer of the Dartmouth Chapter, President of the Northern New England Association, and Vice-Chair of the New England District.



2015 Recipients


Bette Napoli Harris' long and broad service to Phi Beta Kappa began in 1987, when she first became President of the thriving Northern California Phi Beta Kappa Association. Since then she has served as served the Southern California Association of Phi Beta Kappa in several capacities, including as President. Harris is very involved with the Western District of the Society, and has just concluded her service as Chair of the Society’s Conference of Association Delegates.


Don Wyatt has been a longtime stalwart of the Middlebury College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, serving as its president on two separate occasions, the last for the past twenty-five years. During this time Wyatt also served two terms as a Phi Beta Kappa Senator, and chaired the Committee on Awards. He also is a member of the Society’s Committee on Qualifications, which vets college and universities applying for new chapters.


James Lightner, a Fellow of Phi Beta Kappa for many years, Lightner was elected to the Senate in 2006 and served as Chair of the Committee on Chapters. During his Senate years, he was a steadfast champion of chapters, working diligently to make sure the national office understood chapter concerns. 
While on the Senate, he also served two terms on the Executive Committee.

Staff Contact

Please email with any inquiries or call (202) 265-3808

*John Hope Franklin (photographed by Dan Sears) as featured in “African Americans and Segregation” portion of The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History