Phi Theta Kappa Founders Day

Celebrating Phi Theta Kappa

Stephens College, 1918

Stephens College, 1918

Phi Theta Kappa observes its birthday on Founders Day, November 19. Phi Theta Kappa was founded in 1918 by presidents of two-year colleges in Missouri. The founders were seeking to recognize scholastic achievement by their students, and to establish a common purpose and standard for honors organizations on their different campuses. The founders chose to model their new Society after the prestigious senior honor society, Phi Beta Kappa. The name "Phi Theta Kappa" was taken from the initial letters of the three Greek words meaning "wisdom," "aspiration" and "purity."

Eleven years later, Phi Theta Kappa was officially recognized by the American Association of Junior Colleges on November 19, the date now traditionally observed as the Society's Founders Day.


Here are suggested ways your chapter can observe Phi Theta Kappa Founders Day!

  • Show off your scholarship at a satellite seminar
    The final Honors Seminar Series takes place during the week of Founders Day! This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our birthday and mission as a scholastic Honor Society! Take advantage of this outstanding Honors Study Topic event to bring high school honor students to your campus - the Satellite Seminars have been a successful recruitment tool for colleges across the nation. Invite any prospective members at the college to attend the Satellite Seminar also, and let them see how many opportunities for honors education are available in Phi Theta Kappa.
  • Happy Birthday to us Stage a campus party! Your chapter might put up a display about the organization in a high traffic area and serve ice cream, cake, or popcorn to students passing by. Some regions annually hold a Regional Founders Day Party. Hosted by a different chapter each year, the celebration encourages fellowship activities among the regional chapters.
  • Say it with a basket Send a flower or fruit basket to your college president's office with a note explaining the special significance of Founders Day. This will draw attention to the organization and what it does for the campus.
  • Tea time Host an afternoon tea or continental breakfast with simple refreshments for faculty and staff. Decorate the room with Phi Theta Kappa memorabilia. Give a presentation on the Honors Study Topic and the Society's International Service Program.
  • An apple a day Provide a shiny red or golden apple for all faculty members in appreciation of their contribution to academic excellence. Attach a note explaining the significance of the date.
    Stephens College, 1918

    Stephens College, 1918

  • Fashion statement Declare November 19 "Phi Theta Kappa Day" on campus. Ask all members to wear their Phi Theta Kappa t-shirts, hats, pins, and other apparel to school.
  • Make your mark Honor Founders Day by honoring your own Phi Theta Kappa chapter, advisors, college president, chartering officers, or alumni chapter with the purchase of a commemorative brick. Bricks naming your honorees will become a permanent part of the Alpha Courtyard at the Center For Excellence in Jackson, Mississippi. Bricks may be purchased by e-mailing the Alumni Office, or calling 601.984.3504 ext 3577.
  • Fly the flags Hang banners in your school or on your campus announcing Phi Theta Kappa Founders Day. Take your exhibit into the community by utilizing display spaces at your local library, mall kiosks or in storefront windows.
  • The write stuff Write an op-ed article for your school or local newspaper! Schedule an editorial board meeting to discuss the importance of planning ahead for college. Also, talk about your two-year college experience and its opportunities for excellence, like Phi Theta Kappa. Consider teaming up with counselors from local high schools and admissions officers from area two-year colleges.
  • High school outreach Invite a local middle school or high school class to a special chapter meeting or campus event and speak to them about preparing for college. Be sure to explain how membership in Phi Theta Kappa could help them achieve transfer scholarships and give them an edge with prospective employers.
    Phi Theta Kappa plaque at Stephens College

    Phi Theta Kappa plaque
    at Stephens College

  • Open invitations Invite your chapter members and all other students on campus to bring their younger siblings or youths they mentor to a chapter meeting or campus activity.
  • Visibility counts Set up a campus booth for the entire week of Founders Day and distribute information about Phi Theta Kappa, benefits of membership, scholarship programs, International Convention and the International Honors Institute.
  • Back to school Sponsor a "College Night" or a "Phi Theta Kappa Night" at area high schools, in conjunction with high school guidance counselors and with other organizations on campus. Ask your local newspaper, TV station and radio station to sponsor and to publicize the event.
  • Back to school, part 2 Sponsor a special "College Night" or "Phi Theta Kappa Night" on campus, aimed at recruiting returning adult students. Work with local churches, civic clubs, social service organizations and the media to publicize the event. Be sure that financial aid and scholarship personnel attend, and emphasize special services (such as on-campus daycare and night classes) for adult students. Be sure to provide childcare for the event itself.
  • Civic engagement Phi Theta Kappa has issued a call challenging chapters and members to support civic engagement. Spotlight your chapter's civic engagement activities on Founders Day.
  • Phi Theta Kappa is good as gold Show the world that we are Good as Gold - wear Good as Gold t-shirts on Founders Day, and use the resources of the Good as Gold DVD and video to create a special presentation for administrators, faculty and students. Take the message to the community by offering to present the program at a civic club.