Phi Kappa Phi Chapter History

Phi Kappa Phi National academic recognition of students by an organization first began at Fresno State College on October 19, 1929. The Key was founded under the auspices of the Alumni Association of Phi Beta Kappa of the San Joaquin Valley. The first president of The Key was William Motier Tucker, Professor of Geology. The first student president was Lee Cronbach for the 1933/1934 academic year.

The Key functioned continuously from its inception until 1952. During this time, the curriculum at Fresno State College developed beyond the initial emphasis of arts, humanities and education. An agricultural emphasis developed as well as areas within the health sciences, natural sciences, engineering and business. As this occurred, the need for an organization which recognized a broad range of academic disciplines became apparent.

As a result, the faculty and administration petitioned the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi to take over the more limited function of The Key as expressed in the constitution under the auspices of Phi Beta Kappa. On March 31, 1952, University President Arnold E. Joyal, petitioned the National Society for membership. This petition led to the installation of Chapter 062 on April 22, 1953. Phi Kappa Phi has since served the campus as the honor society which recognizes academic excellence achieved by our students in all fields of academic endeavor. It is the oldest and longest lived organization at Fresno State.

The Charter members include individuals long associated with the university and now memorialized in Fresno and California State University, Fresno history. Irwin Oliver Addicott, Arch R. Addington, Rannie Bell Baker, Harold James Beatty, Arnold P. Biella, Gertrude Billard, Marjorie Brewster, Mitchell Pirie Briggs, Karl L. Falk, McKee Fisk, Ellen Boulton Herndon, Arnold Edward Joyal, Albert R. Lang, Clair E. Nelsen, Donald S. Piston, George M. Stanley, William E. St. John, Dallas A. Tueller and Francis A. Wiley.

In the mid 1950's, the members of Chapter 062 composed and incorporated into their initiation a pledge. The pledge of Chapter 062 has since served as the guiding principles upon which our chapter and our members strive to meet our mission and the purpose and motto of Phi Kappa Phi. Our pledge has recently served as the guiding foundation for the new national pledge for Phi Kappa Phi being developed by the national office.

In 1996, our chapter commissioned one of our member's, John Marshall Bliss, to compose a march to be entered in the national competition for the centennial celebration. John's composition won the contest and now serves as the official ceremonial march for The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. The Phi Kappa Phi Centennial March is proudly played on our university's carillon bells both randomly throughout the year, every day during National Phi Kappa Phi Week and every day during Chapter 062's initiation and week-long activities.

During the Centennial Celebration, held during August of 1997 in New Orleans, Chapter 062 presented our first national display which received many compliments and set the precedence for our chapter to continue national displays. Our chapter's display at the 1998 Triennial Conference was one of the most visited displays and received more requests for information than could be handled during the conference.

The Centennial Celebration also recognized Chapter 062 as the national winner in the categories of: The Best Activities for Freshman and Sophomores; The Best Fund Raising Activities; The Best Public Relations Activities; and The Best National Centennial Week Activities. Our chapter also received Awards of Excellence in the categories of: The Best Initiation Event and The Best Promotion of Academic Excellence. Because of these award presentations, Chapter 062 led the nation as the chapter to receive the most awards of any chapter during the national Centennial Celebration.

For our 1998 Initiation held on April 30, national president Ann McNalley, gave a welcoming introductory speech and, at the conclusion of the event, inducted our new officers. Following the event, she expressed to our chapter that, in her estimation, we produced and hosted the best and most impressive initiation event in the country, a complement our chapter will always strive to live up to.

Phi Kappa Phi is your honor society. Chapter 062 is proud of what we have accomplished and are here to continue to recognize the academic achievements of you, our students, and the excellence of our alumni, faculty and staff. Be proud of what you have accomplished. We are proud of you. Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is an earned recognition of that success and will follow you the rest of your lives.