“Love of learning is the guide of life.” ~PBK motto   


About the Phi Beta Kappa Association of East Central Illinois

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the most prestigious undergraduate honor society in the United States. Only about 10 percent of the nation's institutions of higher learning have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and only about 10 percent of the arts and sciences graduates of these distinguished institutions are selected for Phi Beta Kappa membership. Chapters confer membership for life, and upon graduation from their undergraduate institutions all members are invited to become active in their local PBK Association.

Members of PBK are committed to furthering intellectual inquiry as a form of invaluable public service. The Phi Beta Kappa Association of East Central Illinois gives local PBK members the opportunity to extend the organization’s goals of academic excellence, civic engagement, and entrepreneurial brilliance well beyond the walls of their undergraduate institution. Our events and activities, such as the Fall Lecture Series, the Young Scholars Award, and the Frank McCormick Study Abroad Scholarship, some of the ways in which we hope to foster the love of learning and the high standards of PBK within our community. All Phi Beta Kappa members are, regardless of institutional affiliation, invited to participate in our programs.


Our Goals

To recognize academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences;

To support and encourage the love of learning in our public community;

To promote the discussion of cultural, scientific and social issues of interest.


Our Activities

PBK Fall Lecture: We sponsor a PBK Fall Lecture, which is a high impact public talk featuring an engaging scholar of the liberal arts and sciences. This talk invites and challenges the public to think in a new way about historical and very current topics of broad cultural interest.

ebolaPiedra Roja


PBK Young Scholar Award Essay Contest: We sponsor an annual essay contest for top high school juniors.  Students from local high schools submit essays in the spring of each year on one of three topics. The association honors the authors of the five best essays and awards prizes to the winners at our spring banquet.

2015 winners


Spring BanquetThe PBK Spring Banquet is held every year, typically in the first half of April. It is held in the gorgeous Doudna Fine Arts Center Concourse on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. Phi Beta Kappa members and their guests attend along with the students honored with the PBK Young Scholars Award. Immediately before the banquet, we conduct our brief annual business meeting, where we elect officers for the following year. The banquet is designed to honor the high school winners of our essay contest as well as their guests, including parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, and principals. The banquet is an opportunity to meet and socialize with other members of the association. If you are interested in attending the spring banquet, please contact Suzie Park at sapark@eiu.edu. 



Founding member Dr. Frank McCormick, former PBK Alumni Association President


Frank McCormick Study Abroad ScholarshipThe association has established a scholarship at Eastern Illinois University honoring the activities of our long serving former president, Frank McCormick.  The scholarship provides a stipend (approximately $500) to assist students at Eastern Illinois University to participate in university sponsored study abroad programs.


PBK Association Officers

2016-2017: President Suzie Park, Vice President Kristin Routt, Secretary Sarah Johnson, Treasurer Melissa Caldwell.


suzie and sarah

Suzie Park (President) with Sarah Johnson (Secretary and Chair of the Young Scholar Award Committee)

suzie and kristin

Suzie Park with Kristin Routt (Vice President and emcee of the Spring Banquet)

If you are interested in serving in an officer position--or in any other fashion--please let us know: sapark@eiu.edu.