Happy 127, Phi Kappa Phi!

Danny Heitman
Mar 15, 2024

Members of Phi Kappa Phi’s national office staff gathered on March 4 to mark the Society’s 127th birthday and participate in a celebration video to promote Phi Kappa Phi’s long history of scholarship and service.

Staff members assembled in the Society’s John R. Baker Library for birthday cupcakes and punch. The library’s collection, endowed by Diane G. and Webb M. Smathers Jr., formed a backdrop to the festivities. Cupcakes, decorated blue and gold to reflect the Society’s official colors, sported “127” candles touting Phi Kappa Phi’s many years as a lifeblood of learning.

National office staff sang “Happy Birthday” and enjoyed birthday treats. A video of the celebration is available here.

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine by 10 senior students, two faculty members, and the university president, Phi Kappa Phi now has about 100,000 active members and some 325 chapters. The Society currently gives $1.3 million each year in grants and awards to deserving scholars pursuing research. Since its founding in 1897, the Society’s mission has been grounded in its official motto, “Let the love of learning rule humanity.”

“Birthdays are always about taking stock,” said Bradley R. Newcomer, executive director and CEO of Phi Kappa Phi’s national office. “Phi Kappa Phi members can be proud of the Society’s 127 years of growth. The good news is that we’re just getting started. Our national office, in collaboration with our National Board of Directors, has been working hard to position the Society for another century as an engine of progress.”

Phi Kappa Phi leaders are finalizing a strategic plan to guide the Society’s future growth. The national office is embracing new technology to better track and serve Phi Kappa Phi’s members, and staff are targeting resources to better support and grow campus chapters.

For more information about opportunities to support Phi Kappa Phi’s mission, visit