Nursing Student Inducted to Oldest, Most Prestigious Academic Honor Society in United States

From Touch Point Online Magazine, Summer 2019 – Vol. III, Issue 2

Kara Simon, of Oregon, OH, graduated from Kent State University College of Nursing in May 2019 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and was among 87 Kent State students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the United States, this past spring. Founded in 1776, “Phi Beta Kappa has championed education in the arts and sciences, fostered freedom of thought, and recognized academic excellence[1].”

It is a rare honor to be selected for Phi Beta Kappa. Only 10% of U.S. colleges and universities have chapters and of those chapters, 10% of their students are eligible to join the society. According to the Phi Beta Kappa website, the society’s membership includes 17 United States presidents, 41 Supreme Court Justices and more than 140 Nobel Laureates.

Already a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Kara was used to receiving multiple honor society invitations. “I received so many emails from honor societies that this one just got lost in the shuffle,” she said. “But when I received a congratulatory email from Dean Broome, I realized what a true honor Phi Beta Kappa was and decided to look at the email once more.”

Membership into Phi Beta Kappa is by invitation only. Every year, a Kent State faculty committee comprised of current Phi Beta Kappa members review transcripts for juniors and seniors. To be eligible for membership, students have to have completed at least 75 credit hours on the Kent campus, meet a GPA requirement and have substantial math and considerable foreign language credits.

“Phi Beta Kappa membership provides individuals with access to experiences and networks that open doors to new opportunities. The networking capabilities are the most advantageous to students,” said Lori Michael, special assistant, thesis coordinator, Honors College. “Phi Beta Kappa also offers a variety of awards and support towards its mission to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to foster freedom of thought, and to recognize academic excellence.”

As a new inductee, Kara has already begun to experience the benefits of her Phi Beta Kappa membership. She recently accepted a job at the Cleveland Clinic main campus in the medical ICU and credits this honor for helping secure that position. “I had the society listed on my resume and explained it in my cover letter,” said Kara. “In a few years, I want to go to graduate school to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). I know it is difficult to be accepted into those programs, especially if you don’t have many years of experience, but I think Phi Beta Kappa will once again help set me apart from other prospective applicants.”

At the 200th anniversary meeting of the society, in 1976, The NU of Ohio Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was invested at Kent State University and housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. Some years ago, it was moved to the Honors College. Prior to its investment, faculty at the university and area residents who had been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, were involved in the Portage Area Phi Beta Kappa Association. Members who were active in securing the chapter for Kent State were invited to become members of the new chapter during a special convocation in April 1977.

Kara joins the following Kent State nursing alumni as a member of Phi Beta Kappa: Nathanial Kindel (2018); Juliana Kivett (2017); Charles Campana, Kimberly Marko, and Katie Matthews (2016); and Kai Shin (Lim) King (2015).

Learn more about Phi Beta Kappa


[1] The Phi Beta Kappa Society. (n.d.). Retrieved June 10, 2019, from

POSTED: Friday, July 5, 2019 - 12:12pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 11:05am
Mariah Gibbons