The President's Award


The Phi Beta Kappa President’s Award, created in 2009, is given to an individual in recognition of truly outstanding and extraordinary service to the national organization.



This is generally awarded every three years at the Triennial Council meeting and is commemorated by presentation of the Judith F. Krug Medal.


Judith F. Krug was a member inducted at the University of Pittsburgh, who served as the Phi Beta Kappa Senate’s Vice President from 2006 to 2009. Krug was a passionate activist in defense of the right to free speech and against censorship. During her distinguished career she served for more than 40 years as Director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. She was also director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and helped to found Banned Book Week. Krug regarded her position with Phi Beta Kappa as a continuation of her work “to make information available and accessible for all.”


2021 Award Recipient

Catherine White Berheide

Past Recipients


Joseph W. Gordon, retired Dean of Undergraduate Education at Yale, was the first recipient of the President's award in 2012 at the Society's 43rd Triennial Council. Gordon was recognized for his long and distinguished years of service to Phi Beta Kappa including eighteen years as a Senator, fifteen years on the Executive Committee, membership in the Secretary’s Circle, a term as Vice President and a term as President of the Society. He has also served for an extended period on the Society’s Committee on Qualifications, which evaluates applications from colleges and universities seeking to house new chapters.


Fred H. Cate, the Distinguished Professor and C. Ben Dutton Professor of Law at Indiana University, Director of the Indiana University Center for Law, Ethics and Applied Research in Health Information and the Center for Information Privacy and Security, was given the President’s Award in 2015 at the Society’s 44th Triennial Council. Cate’s distinguished service to Phi Beta Kappa includes eight years as a Senator and one term as Society President. Cate is responsible for advancing the idea of a national initiative for the liberal arts and sciences, which ultimately led to the creation of the Society’s dynamic National Arts & Sciences Initiative. 


George Greenia, Professor of Hispanic Studies at the College of William & Mary, received the President’s Award in 2015 at the Society’s 44th Triennial Council. During his time with Phi Beta Kappa, Greenia has been very active in the chapter at William & Mary. He was elected to the Society’s Senate in 2009, and served for six years on the Executive Committee. As an extraordinary ambassador, he has carried his enthusiasm for the Society’s purposes to the national stage.


John Churchill, Secretary Emeritus, received the President's Award in 2018 at the Society’s 44th Triennial Council. Churchill served as the ninth Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa Society from 2001 - 2016. During his tenure he oversaw the creation of the National Arts and Sciences Initiative, strengthened support for chapters and associations, and established many long-standing relationships with peer organizations. Churchill served two terms as President of the National Humanities Alliance. 

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