Elite Students Invited to Join Phi Kappa Phi
Students didn’t seem too concerned to see UT Dallas administrators, in full academic regalia, talking to their professor before their auditing class. Many students continued with the buzz of their own conversations.
“I thought maybe they were there to introduce the new UT Dallas president to our class,” Nathan Tipsword said.
Instead, Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, president ad interim, and Dr. Andrew Blanchard, dean of Undergraduate Education, were there to “tap” or invite students for membership in Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all disciplines. Membership is by invitation only.
“As they started calling out our names, I was thinking I was underdressed. I was actually really honored,” said Tipsword, an accounting junior who was among the 519 juniors and seniors invited to join Phi Kappa Phi.
“The continued growth of our chapter membership is one measure of our academic excellence. We are pleased to recognize and honor these exceptional students.”
Faculty and administrators visited several classrooms to recognize juniors and seniors on their list of candidates; other students were invited by email. Those who decided to join were honored at a reception last month. Graduate students will be invited during the spring term.
Wildenthal and Blanchard, who are members of Phi Kappa Phi, shook hands and extended invitation letters to each student called to the front of the room.
“The continued growth of our chapter membership is one measure of our academic excellence,” said Blanchard, Mary McDermott Cook Distinguished Chair for Undergraduate Education and Research, and the president of the UT Dallas chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. “We are pleased to recognize and honor these exceptional students.”
Having a Phi Kappa Phi chapter is part of UT Dallas’ effort to highlight academic achievement and continue its drive toward becoming a Tier One research university.
Since March 2011, the chapter has inducted 51 faculty and staff, 779 students, 78 alumni and two honorary lifetime members.
The honor society is open to upperclassmen and graduate students who meet a set of eligibility requirements. Graduate students who have completed at least 18 graded graduate credit hours at UT Dallas with a minimum of a 3.8 GPA must be nominated by their program chairs. Undergraduates must have completed at least 72 hours of course work with 24 hours completed at UT Dallas.
The UT Dallas chapter chose the top 7.5 percent of juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors across each school.
Accounting senior Faith Crockett said she was honored to be called out in front of her peers, and planned to live up to the public recognition.
“I’m calling my mom right after this,” Crockett said. “And I’m going to make all A’s this semester.”
Accounting senior Rahilkumar Patel said he felt proud to be part of such a select group. “It makes all my hard work worth it,” Patel said.
Phi Kappa Phi membership benefits include eligibility to apply for more than $800,000 in scholarships from the national organization, mentoring and career assistance. In addition, the local chapter offers grants to support academics and professionalization that are available to all members.
Dr. Andrew Blanchard, Phi Kappa Phi president and dean of Undergraduate Education, and Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, president ad interim, invited several students to join the honor society on tapping day.
For the fourth consecutive year, The University of Texas at Dallas chapter of Phi Kappa Phi has been named a Chapter of Excellence, the highest commendation a chapter can receive from the organization.
The UT Dallas chapter is among 29 across the U.S. to receive the top award, given to chapters excelling in recognizing and promoting academic excellence and engaging the community of scholars in service to others. Other Texas institutions recognized were Texas A&M University, Texas A&M International University and Texas Woman’s University.
“It’s extremely gratifying to have been recognized every year since we initiated our Phi Kappa Phi chapter,” said Dr. Andrew Blanchard, dean of Undergraduate Education and president of the UT Dallas chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. “This commendation reflects the University’s dedication to maintaining a high standard of academic excellence.”
The UT Dallas chapter, established in 2011, was recognized again as a thriving organization that holds annual initiations, maintains an active social media presence, offers multiple nominees for national and local fellowships and awards, and sponsors events — including an annual luncheon and the Honors Convocation.
The ongoing support of UT Dallas administrators, particularly Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, president ad interim, has been critical to the chapter’s success, Blanchard said.
Blanchard, Mary McDermott Cook Distinguished Chair for Undergraduate Education and Research, also singled out the efforts of chapter executive committee member Dr. Douglas Dow, associate dean for the Honors College, for mentoring students as they apply for the national Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships.
The chapter invited 519 students to join in fall 2015. Those who accept will join the 910 faculty, staff, student and alumni members inducted since the chapter’s inception.
Phi Kappa Phi is the country’s oldest, largest and most selective honor society that serves all academic disciplines, with chapters on more than 300 campuses in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].