Friday, August 31, 2018

Society Seeks Volunteers for Committee Service

Every biennium Phi Kappa Phi depends upon the good work of more than 100 volunteers to serve on as many as 12 national committees. Most committees are made up of five individuals, including the chair, who represent the diversity of Society membership.

Committee work usually involves conference calls and in some cases a meeting in Baton Rouge. All travel expenses are paid for by the Society (according to its travel expense policy), and meetings are kept to a minimum for the sake of efficiency.

This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved on a national level with Phi Kappa Phi and to network with colleagues from around the country.

Click here to review the list of committees and descriptions of their work.

Members must be active (dues-current) and initiated in 2012 or earlier to serve on a committee. The deadline for submissions is September 20.

Submit a Committee Service Volunteer Form

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Phi Kappa Phi Announces Expansion of Fellowship Program

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines, has announced an expansion of its Fellowship Program from a total distribution of $345,000 each year to $615,000 beginning in 2019. The increased funding will support 58 fellowships for outstanding students entering their first year of graduate or professional study.

Established in 1932, the Fellowship Program annually provides funding to first-year graduate students who are pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees across all academic disciplines. Endorsed by their local chapter, Phi Kappa Phi Fellows go on to study at some of the nation’s top graduate schools.

“The Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship, the Society’s first and now signature award, has provided financial support to exceptional students beginning their graduate education for more than 85 years,” said Dr. Mary Todd, executive director of the Society. “We are pleased to uphold our longstanding commitment to recognizing academic excellence and look forward to continuing our support of emerging scholars through the expansion of the program.”

Beginning in 2019, Phi Kappa Phi will award 50 fellowships at $8,500 each, up from $5,000 each; six Marcus L. Urann Fellowships at $20,000, up from $15,000; a new 1897 Fellowship at $35,000; and a newly endowed Sherrill Carlson Fellow at $35,000.

The selection process for a fellowship is based on the applicant’s evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance in an approved graduate or professional program.

Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships are part of the Society’s robust award programs, which distribute nearly $1 million each year to outstanding members through study abroad grants, graduate and dissertation fellowships, funding for post-baccalaureate development, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives.

The application process for the 2019 Fellowship Program will open December 15. Each active Phi Kappa Phi chapter may submit one candidate from among its local applicants to compete Society-wide for a fellowship. The national deadline for chapters to submit an applicant is April 15, 2019.

To learn more about the fellowships and other Society awards, please visit

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Show Your Smarts with the Phi Kappa Phi Rewards Visa®

By Jamie Chapman
Member Engagement Director

Show your Phi Kappa Phi pride everywhere you shop, dine and travel with the Phi Kappa Phi Rewards Visa® Credit Card! You can also earn UNLIMITED Cash Back¹ with no point caps and no opt-in.

Phi Kappa Phi Cardholder Benefits
  • UNLIMITED Cash Back¹ with no point caps & no opt-in.
  • You have lots of choices to redeem your rewards—from 1% Cash Back¹ to gift cards, travel, merchandise and more.² A Cash Back¹ redemption is applied as a statement credit.
  • Low introductory APR
  • No annual fee

Visit to learn more and apply online.

Our affinity card agreement with Commerce Bank is available upon request. Email your request to Jamie Chapman at

  1. A Cash Back redemption is applied as a statement credit. The statement credit will reduce your balance, but you are still required to make at least your minimum payment. Values for non-cash back redemption items such as merchandise, gift cards and travel may vary.
  2. Visit for complete details.

Questions? Contact Jamie Chapman at or 1.800.804.9880, ext 217.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Chapter Update - August 2018

By Kay White
Chapter Development Director

How do you know that convention was a success? When chapter officers get to collaborate like this at convention!

Plans were made for the coming academic year and biennium, and chapter officers shared ideas and conversations regarding chapter health. Some of our staff were able to take part in these discussions and are working to address any questions or concerns expressed at convention.

We are still following up with those chapter officers that attended, and reimbursements are a part of that process. As a reminder, reimbursements can only be filed until the end of the calendar year. Reimbursement guidelines are listed below and at our convention website.
  1. Airfare. Commercial air travel will be reimbursed only at the 21-day advance economy or otherwise designated lowest cost standard fare for guaranteed space. We will not reimburse for prices taken from a future date.
  2. Personal automobile. The use of personal automobiles will be reimbursed at the government-approved mileage rate (54.5¢ in 2018), but reimbursement will not exceed the cost of airfare that would have been incurred if air travel had been used (as indicated above). Please provide a travel agency estimate of equivalent airfare with date stamp. (Online travel services, such as Expedia, are accepted.)
  3. Lodging. Reimbursement for a single room, or double room when accompanied by a spouse or guest, will be provided only for periods directly related to convention.
  4. Documentation. Receipts must be submitted for all lodging and air travel expenses exceeding $25.00. If possible, obtain receipts for all expenses including those less than $25.00. Credit card receipts or statements, alone, are not considered adequate documentation.
  5. Reimbursement. Travel reimbursements can be submitted by using the chapter dashboard function through our website. No reimbursements will be made after December 31, 2018.

In case you, or any of your chapter officers were unable to attend convention, please know that we have two in-person training opportunities coming up this fall. Growing Your Chapter workshops are interactive, one-day workshops that provide officers with tips and resources for managing and enhancing active chapters. Participants will have the opportunity to team up with national office staff and other Phi Kappa Phi officers to network, share ideas and learn strategies and proven practices. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Our next Growing Your Chapter Workshop will be held on Saturday, October 20 in Chicago. Space is limited, so make plans to attend now! Click here to RSVP and start the registration process. But please, do not make any flight or hotel reservations until you have received confirmation from the national office.

The non-refundable registration fee is $150 per person. Economy airfare or mileage and up to two nights of hotel accommodations will be eligible for reimbursement after the event.

We look forward to seeing you at our next workshop!

To share your chapter’s events with the national office, contact Kay White, Chapter Development Director, at

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Travel Tales: Elisha Jaeke

Phi Kappa Phi’s Study Abroad Grants help students gain experience in their academic fields by studying abroad. Get a first-hand look at the study abroad experience as told by 2017 recipient Elisha Jaeke:

Elisha Jaeke
St. Norbert College

“Spring in South America – Life as a Student in Quito, Ecuador”

During my time abroad in Ecuador, I enrolled in a semester of classes at la Universidad San Francisco de Quito, located in a valley just outside of the city. I was incredibly lucky to be placed in a host family where three generations shared an apartment (and where improving my Spanish with five-year-old twins truly could not have been more fun), and each morning I was greeted by rays of sunshine streaming past a beautiful view of the Pichincha Mountains. Through my classes and a cultural exchange club, I was able to meet Ecuadorian friends as well as fellow "extranjeros," and we traveled nearly every weekend to new and unique places throughout Ecuador. Though my language skills and understanding of Latin American history and culture have grown exponentially, I think that I am most proud of how I have grown as a person, becoming more confident, more grateful, and more passionate about working each day for the good of the world and its people. These past months have truly been the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to the Phi Kappa Phi organization for its support of students like me.

» Click here to read more about Elisha's trip.

Interested in applying for a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant? Click here to learn more and apply by September 15.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Smart Back-to-School Savings

August is here, which means it’s time to head back to school! Whether you are a faculty or staff member, student, parent, or professional, don’t miss out on these great back-to-school savings offered by Phi Kappa Phi’s member benefit partners.

Pick up all of your home and office supplies at Office Depot/Office Max and save up to 80%. Members also qualify for free next-day delivery on online orders over $50.

Looking to stay organized in the new school year? Let Franklin Planner help with a 15% discount when you use promo code PKPMEMBER.

Back up your irreplaceable computer files—like term papers, photos, music and more—securely and automatically to the cloud with Carbonite. Save 10% year-round, with additional discounts available for multi-year purchases, on all business and personal plan subscriptions. Visit today and enter promotional code PKPOFFER10 when signing up for your free trial or purchasing a subscription.

Need access to academic and professional journals for your research? An annual JPASS individual plan offers members access to more than 2,000 of the world's leading academic journals. Click here to save $50 on your annual subscription today!

Update your technology with a new laptop, PC or technology accessories from Dell or Lenovo. Save up to 30% on select laptops, desktops, plus hundreds of electronics and accessories.

Finally, return to campus in style with Society-branded gear. From dressy polos to hooded jackets and everything in between, the easy-to-navigate online store makes it simple to shop for your favorite Phi Kappa Phi items. In addition, members can take advantage of free shipping on orders of $50 or more.

Don’t forget, shop AmazonSmile and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to Phi Kappa Phi, which helps support Phi Kappa Phi award programs. You’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience that you know and love, and you can even use your existing Amazon account to shop. Click here to start shopping and don’t forget to bookmark the AmazonSmile link to make it even easier to support Phi Kappa Phi every time you shop on Amazon!

Questions? Contact Jamie Chapman at or 1.800.804.9880, ext 217.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

State of the Society

By Beth Colvin

Gypsy Denzine addressed the convention for the last time as president before turning over the office to Missy Hopper.

“My aha moment for the past two years is this simple … I learned history matters.”

Denzine says it wasn’t obvious to her, as she likes to live and think in the future.

“I think about our future awards, our future programs,” Denzine said. “I think about our businesses processes. I think long and hard about future trends in higher education and how that will influence our Society.”

But a spate of speaking requests from the chapter at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, celebrating their fiftieth anniversary, and from the Society’s original chapter at the University of Maine turned Denzine to the unexplored contours of the past. Marcus Urann, founder of Phi Kappa Phi, was a student with a good idea for an inclusive honor society. And Abram Winegardner Harris, president of the university, opened the door.

“Just like Marcus did, in 1897, I hope we all knock on someone’s door if we have a good idea. Second, I encourage all of us, if somebody knocks on our door, let’s open the door,” Denzine said. “President Harris wasn’t too busy, he opened the door. He took that time to open the door.”

She also encouraged membership in associations and asked members to think about what it means to be part of Phi Kappa Phi.

“I suggest it means more than academic excellence. I suggest it does mean inclusivity, as Marcus had hoped for,” Denzine said. “As a society, our history does matter. We are living history right now, so we can be proud to be part of our milestone in our history. I’m proud to say … we are in great shape. Our future looks great, way beyond ten years from now.”

Monday, August 13, 2018

Phi Kappa Phi Announces 2018-2020 Council of Students

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi recently announced its 2018-2020 Council of Students. The Council, comprised of six student vice presidents from chapters across the nation, will serve as the student engagement committee for the Society.

Established in 2007, the Council is tasked with enhancing communication with student vice presidents, planning and hosting a student leadership conference, and interacting with student vice presidents in the Society’s five divisions, among other tasks.

Congratulations and welcome to the 2018-2020 Council of Students:
  • Megan Burns, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Anna Gardner, Ithaca College
  • Nicole Matis, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Andrew McAbee, Methodist University
  • Boston Workman, Weber State University
  • Angelica Zamora-Duran, Florida Institute of Technology

To learn more about each representative from the Council of Students, click here. To contact representatives from the Council of Students, email

2018-2020 Society Board of Directors and Divisional Vice Presidents

Voting for the Society's 2018-2020 Board of Directors was held Saturday, August 4, during the Phi Kappa Phi Biennial Convention. Convention delegates voted to elect the following positions: President-elect, Vice President for Chapter Development, five Directors, a Graduate Student Representative, an Undergraduate Student Representative and a Foundation Board of Trustees member. Voting delegates also elected the five Divisional Vice Presidents.



Missy Hopper, Mississippi State University

Dan Sandweiss, University of Maine

Past President
Gypsy M. Denzine, West Virginia University

Vice President for Chapter Development
David J. Silva, Salem State University

Lora A. Becker, University of Evansville
JoAnn Canales, Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi
Laurie Kramer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Christina M. McIntyre, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Philip E. Phillips, Middle Tennessee State University

Graduate Student Representative

Brett Ranon Nachman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Undergraduate Student Representative

Emily Scircle, Clemson University

Member, Foundation Board of Trustees
Wendy Lawrence, United States Naval Academy


Division I

Jonathan D. Kotinek, Texas A&M University

Division II
Heather E. Davis, Texas Woman’s University

Division III
William H. Mulligan, Jr., Murray State University

Division IV

Ron Tulley, University of Findlay

Division V

Ray J. Davis, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Thursday, August 9, 2018

And the Winners Are...

Drumroll, please!

Phi Kappa Phi is excited to announce the winners of its Spring 2018 Graduation Photo Contest. The top 10 photos received more than 2,100 votes in total!

Congratulations to Donald Akanga from University of North Alabama who was selected as the first place winner. As first place recipient, Donald received a $100 Amazon gift card. Rachel Gascon from California State University, Fresno was awarded second place and a $50 Amazon gift card. Third place and a $25 Amazon gift card went to Niroshan Siva from Clemson University.

Watch for the winning entries, along with other submissions, to appear in various Phi Kappa Phi marketing and promotional materials. And stay tuned for details about the Fall Graduation Photo Contest, which will open this December.

To see all photos entered into the contest, visit our Flickr page.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Member Benefit Highlights – August 2018

Class is in session! Don’t miss out on these great discounts and promotions available exclusively to Phi Kappa Phi members throughout August.

Save 15% on your monthly AT&T wireless phone service. This discount is available on qualifying voice and data plans. Click here to register and learn more. You will be required to log in to your Phi Kappa Phi member account.

Allow up to two billing cycles for the discount to take effect. Note, most retail stores may not honor the discount and it is recommended that you apply the discount to your AT&T account online.

Franklin Planner
Let Franklin Planner help you stay organized this school year! Visit and save 15% on all online purchases using promo code PKPMEMBER.

Access a special discount of up to 8% on auto insurance from GEICO and support Phi Kappa Phi awards at the same time! GEICO makes a contribution to the Society’s award programs each time you request a quote. To get started, visit or call 1.800.368.2734 and reference The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Existing GEICO customers also may be eligible for the discount. Note, the discount is not available in Michigan, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Save up to 30% on Lenovo PC products, including the award-winning ThinkPad laptop. Visit to shop online and start saving!

Let Mercer help make sure you and your loved ones are protected. Visit to learn more about the life, long-term care, disability, medical, pet and travel insurance plans available to Phi Kappa Phi members.

Office Depot
Stock up on all of your school and office supplies at Office Depot and OfficeMax! Phi Kappa Phi members can save up to 80% on more than 90,000 products and get free next-day delivery on online orders over $50. Click here to start shopping in the exclusive Phi Kappa Phi online store or print a free Store Purchasing Card to be used at any Office Depot or OfficeMax store.

Want to access even more savings? Visit to view all of the discounts available to active members year-round. Please note, discounts are reserved for active members and your Phi Kappa Phi login will be required to access many of the partnership webpages.

Questions? Contact Jamie Chapman at or 1.800.804.9880, ext 217.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Phi Kappa Phi Honors Excellence in Innovation Award Recipient at 2018 Convention

Phi Kappa Phi’s Excellence in Innovation Award is, in itself, an innovation.

The $100,000 prize was awarded for only the second time to Western Michigan University for their Seita Scholars program. Seita Scholars are students who spent time in foster care and the program is set up to help them transition from foster care to higher education.

Edward B. Montgomery, president of Western Michigan, said one of the best parts of being president is going to commencements.

“You get to see people and families who are filled with joy at what they’ve accomplished and what they’ve overcome,” Montgomery said. “If you ever get cynical about why we’re in the higher education business, sit back and watch graduation.”

The Seita program, he said, is an incredible journey for students who had no pathway forward in life. It has graduated more than 140 students, many of whom have gone on to graduate school and medical school.

J. Gabriel Ware, who Montgomery brought with him to 2018’s biennial convention, was a student in the Seita program.

“I was a horrible student in school, to be honest with you,” Ware said. He was in foster care from the time he was a year old.

Higher education never occurred to him until his girlfriend, now his wife, graduated from Western Michigan and talked about getting her masters degree.

“You can’t just go get your masters while I’m making $7 an hour as a cashier,” Ware said. He went first to community college, where one of his former case workers urged him to look into the Seita Scholars program. And, once he had that associate’s degree, he did and was accepted. That opened doors.

During community college, Ware worked two and three jobs an hour to make ends meet. With the Seita program’s financial aid, which covers everything, he could advance past entry-level retail jobs.

“When you work two to three jobs to get through school, you don’t get jobs to help advance your career,” Ware said. With Seita’s help, he could accept internships that allowed him to advance his career and even paid for part of his masters degree.

“This is a great program and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Author Julie Schumacher Delivers Keynote Address at 45th Phi Kappa Phi Convention

By Beth Colvin

Jason Fitger is a bullish, wildly inappropriate professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a fictional small university enduring familiar themes to many in higher education – cuts in funding, student aid, and a resentment towards liberal arts.

He’s also the alter ego of Julie Schumacher, a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Minnesota. Schumacher uses humor, like the biting satire in her books, to deal with the atmosphere of higher education and the world in general.

“It is a time of great stress in higher education, what with rising tuition and student debt, an increase in adjunct rather than tenure-track faculty hires and, near and dear to my heart, a decline of support for the liberal arts,” Schumacher said in the keynote speech at the 2018 Phi Kappa Phi Biennial Convention in Minneapolis.

Higher education – and particularly English professors – are ripe for satire, Schumacher said. The seriousness of the academy practically begs for humor.

“You take a group of people who have been in school for twenty-five years, let’s say the last six or eight of them burrowed into some cell in the library, obsessively studying one particular, possibly arcane of their discipline, burrowing deeper and deeper, avoiding their friends, their hobbies, their social life,” she said. “And, if they are very fortunate, you give them a job and toss them into a department with other people who have also been obsessively avoiding their friends and family and studying an arcane subject and tell them to get along and govern themselves. It’s all these bitter, unsocialized people together in a department. It’s kind of made to make fun of.”

Schumacher uses humor to relieve the stress associated with the academy, in her teaching, and in her writing.

“I have to trick myself into a project,” she said, and she urges her students to also tackle their own projects with a sense of play. Schumacher wrote a series of young adult novels, and Dear Committee Members, while just playing with ideas about writing.

Her academic coloring book, Doodling for Academics: A Coloring and Activity Book, came about the same way. An editor from the University of Chicago Press, having read Jason Fitger’s adventures, reached out to Schumacher with the idea of a coloring book. Schumacher “has trouble drawing a stick figure,” she says, and it made no sense whatsoever, so she decided to do it.

“Comic and serious are not always opposites. They can actually be very friendly coworkers on a project with you,” Schumacher said.

She’s also very clear that even though Fitger often pokes fun (with a spear) at his students, she is clear that both Fitger and herself care deeply about their students.

“I’m not making fun of students,” she said. “I’m making fun of everything.”