The University of Wyoming was recently honored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society as one of the top two university chapters in the country during the society’s Triennial Council meeting in Denver.

UW was chosen from among 283 chartered institutions nationwide for excellence in representing the commitments and ideals of Phi Beta Kappa throughout the 2012-2015 triennium.  At the meeting, two awards of excellence were presented in each of three categories: private colleges, private universities, and public universities.

The society recognized UW for its strong record of visiting scholars, the quality of speakers at initiation ceremonies, and the 100 percent initiation rate, which is nearly unheard of at public universities.

Every three years, just less than 300 delegates from the country’s top institutions of higher education meet to conduct business.  The meetings involve chartering new chapters, electing members of the Phi Beta Kappa Senate, and giving awards.

Dr. Eric Nye of the UW Department of English was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa senate, giving UW its first representation on the society's governing body.  Senators each serve a term of six years, and work together as a board of directors to chart a course for the society’s future.

“The values prized by PBK have never been more needed by our nation or our institution and, once chosen, we never cease to be members of Phi Beta Kappa,” said Nye.

The executive secretary of Phi Beta Kappa, John Churchill, recently gave certificates of appreciation to several chapter officers at UW.  Mary Aguayo of Student Affairs, Erin Forbes of the English Department, and Betsy Bress of the Department of Art and Art History were all recognized.

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 to award and encourage excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.  It is the first scholastic honor society of the U.S., to which less than 1 percent of college graduates are selected each year.  Nationwide, there are less than 600,000 living members of the society.

Historically, members include 130 Nobel laureates, 38 Supreme Court justices, and 17 Presidents of the United States.