For immediate release April 5, 2023

The Phi Beta Kappa Society Awarded Teagle Foundation Planning Grant

WASHINGTON, DC — The Phi Beta Kappa Society has been awarded a $25,000 planning grant from the Teagle Foundation to explore opportunities to increase the number of chapters held by historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The planning grant will support the Society’s examination of the liberal arts model embedded in the organization in the context of people who have been historically excluded. This work will both expand Phi Beta Kappa’s vision of liberal arts and sciences education, making it more inclusive, and shine a national spotlight on liberal arts expertise and experience at HBCU institutions.

Faculty and administrators on the four PBK HBCU campuses (Fisk University, Howard University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College) will share their knowledge and expertise. Additionally, four distinguished PBK members will serve as project advisors, including P. Gabrielle Foreman (2022 MacArthur Fellow and Paterno Family Professor of American Literature and Professor of African American Studies and History at Penn State), Michael Lomax (President and CEO of the United Negro College Fund), Ruth Simmons (former President of Prairie View A&M University), and Freeman Hrabowski (former President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County), among other scholars and leaders.

“We are enormously grateful to the Teagle Foundation for supporting this vitally important work”, said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary and CEO Frederick M. Lawrence. “This project is central to our efforts to embrace and recognize inclusive excellence.”

The Teagle grant provides the opportunity for PBK to create and build relationships with HBCU campus communities while learning about their unique histories and approaches to the liberal arts through active outreach, conversations, convenings, and research, in addition to greater involvement/investment with its four current HBCU chapters.

Phi Beta Kappa is a leading national advocate with a demonstrated track record in developing programs that expand access to the liberal arts and sciences. Founded in 1776 and guided by the motto "Love of Learning is the Guide of Life," the Society recognizes academic excellence on 293 campuses throughout the country and connects a network of over 500,000 alumni members to liberal arts and sciences expertise. At Phi Beta Kappa's 2018 Triennial, delegates representing chapters and alumni associations voted overwhelmingly to make diversity, equity, and inclusion an organizational priority. This work takes on new urgency as the Society prepares for its 250th anniversary, a unique opportunity to examine its history and act on its responsibilities going forward.


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 293 colleges and universities in the United States, nearly 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 42 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 150 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