Published or Revised December 10, 2015
More than 70 years ago, the presidents of eight junior colleges for women in Missouri met to organize an honor society to recognize academic achievement among their students. The organization was patterned after Phi Beta Kappa, the honor society for universities. Organizers choose the Greek initial letters Phi Theta Kappa for the new fraternity, which stand for phrominmon, thuemos, and katharotes, meaning wisdom, aspiration and purity, all qualities of the Phi Theta Kappa scholar.
Significant dates in PTK history are:
Today, some 75,000 students, male and female, are initiated annually by the 1,100 member chapters, located in all 50 states, U.S. territorial possessions and university extensions abroad. They come from all types of backgrounds and have various educational goals.
The local Beta Zeta Chapter was organized in 1932 and now has more than 400 members. The Beta Zeta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa serves all three campuses. Each campus at Paris, Greenville and Sulphur Springs has its own officers, activities, initiation ceremonies and advisors, but all work closely to function as one unit. Members are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings and participate in activities at the campus of their choice throughout the year.
Membership is based on scholarship, but PTK is not merely an honorary society. PTK is based on four hallmarks: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Fellowship. The programs of the society are designed to give their members opportunities for personal growth. As members develop, their chapters, their colleges, their communities and the national organization grow as well.
To be eligible for membership, a student must have completed one long-term semester at Paris Junior College; must have accumulated 12 semester hours (exclusive of developmental courses); and must have a grade point average of 3.5, and be within the upper scholastic 10 percent of the regularly enrolled student body.
To maintain active membership, a student must be regularly enrolled each semester and at the end of any given semester must have a grade point average of 3.0, which is a “B.” Academic and vocational/technical students are eligible for participation in the local chapter.
Eligible students become pledges by signing an agreement to uphold the standards of Phi Theta Kappa, which include good moral character and citizenship, as well as academic achievement. In addition, an initiation fee of $60 ($45 national, $4 state, $11 chapter) is required.
Other Phi Theta Kappa links of interest include: