The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi


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Mary Todd Named Executive Director of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

Monday, April 30, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA - Mary Todd, founding dean of the Honors College at Marshall University, has been named executive director of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, making her the first woman to lead the 115-year-old organization and only the 11th individual to hold the position since 1900.

Mary Todd, Ph.D.

Photo by Rick Lee

Todd will assume stewardship of the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society on July 1.

"I look forward to working with her,” said Diane G. Smathers, Society President-Elect and chair of the executive director search committee, which announced the hire on April 30. “Mary brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a scholar, a leader, and a true public servant. I believe she has the strengths and vision needed to strategically move the Society forward."

Todd was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi in 1993 at University of Illinois at Chicago and later led a successful petition to bring a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi to Marshall. She will take over for Acting Executive Director Lourdes Barro, who has been serving in that capacity since Perry Snyder retired in June 2011 after 12 years of service, while continuing her long-standing role as chief financial officer, to which she returns as second in command of the Society.

As executive director, Todd will work with the Society’s board of directors to develop a strategic plan for Phi Kappa Phi that supports its mission “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” She also will oversee the day-to-day operations of Phi Kappa Phi headquarters and participate in field activities such as campus visits and chapter installations. 

“Mary Todd’s outstanding academic career and her extensive involvement with the Society, as well as her reputation as both a good manager and a good leader, make her an excellent choice as the next executive director of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi,” said Society President William A. Bloodworth, Jr. “With Dr. Todd’s guidance, Phi Kappa Phi can face its future with confidence as it honors academic excellence, continues to grow in members, and provides service to others.”

Todd, who was appointed following a five-month national search, said, “I am honored by the confidence expressed by the board in their invitation to serve as the next Executive Director of Phi Kappa Phi. To join with the Society’s talented board and staff is an extraordinary opportunity, and I look forward to working with them to extend the long tradition of recognizing academic excellence that is at the heart of Phi Kappa Phi.”

While at Marshall, Todd directed the process of establishing the Honors College. She formulated a strategic plan, led the revision of curricula for the University Honors and Yeager Scholars programs, created an admissions protocol, upgraded facilities, partnered with the development staff to identify donors, and began both a faculty fellows program and an annual lecture series. Under her leadership, the College’s enrollment grew by more than 50 percent.

Todd also served as the primary contact for Phi Kappa Phi at Marshall since the chapter’s installation in 2010.

Before joining Marshall in 2009, Todd served for five years as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Ohio Dominican University where she was responsible for all aspects of the academic administration of the undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies schools. She previously taught at Concordia University-Chicago, Roosevelt University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Dominican University.

Todd earned a bachelor of arts in history from Valparaiso University, a master of general studies from Roosevelt University, and a Ph.D. in American history from University of Illinois at Chicago.

More About Phi Kappa Phi
Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually approximately 32,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The Society has chapters on nearly 320 select colleges and universities in the United States and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify.

Since its founding, more than 1 million members have been initiated. Some of the organization’s more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, NASA Astronaut Wendy Lawrence, writers David Baldacci and John Grisham, opera singer Renee Fleming, journalist and broadcaster Deborah Norville, Netscape founder James Barksdale, and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. 

The Society has awarded approximately $15 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, more than $700,000 is awarded annually to qualifying members and non-members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad scholarships, member and chapter awards and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. The Society’s 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.”

For more information on Phi Kappa Phi, please call 1-800-804-9880 or visit



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