Lowndes County students rank ‘head of class’

Published 8:24 pm Sunday, May 12, 2024

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Three Lowndes County residents recently joined the oldest honor society in America, an opportunity afforded to only the top 10% of undergraduate students nationwide.

The honor society of Phi Kappa Phi is America’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. The Auburn University at Montgomery chapter initiated Madison Cole of Hope Hull and announced the honor April 25. Troy University recognized Kathryn Hargrove, also of Hope Hull and Julie Phillips of Lowndesboro, announcing their induction into the college’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter April 23.

The students distinguished themselves by maintaining academic excellence and are among approximately 25,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni across the country to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation only and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. 

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Only 7.5% of juniors are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10% of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 under the leadership of undergraduate student Marcus L. Urann who had a desire to create a different kind of honor society: one that recognized excellence in all academic disciplines. Today, the society has chapters on more than 325 campuses in the United States, its territories and the Philippines. Its mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

Since its founding, more than 1.5 million members have been initiated into Phi Kappa Phi. Some of the organization’s notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, novelist John Grisham and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley. Each year, Phi Kappa Phi awards $1.3 million to outstanding students and members through graduate and dissertation fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, funding for post-baccalaureate development, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives. For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.phikappaphi.org.