Indiana University of Pennsylvania's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society is one of only 21 chapters in the nation chosen for a Circle of Excellence Platinum Distinction award, the highest commendation a chapter can receive.

Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. There are 325 chapters at colleges and universities in the United States.

IUP's chapter was founded in 1993 and has 393 members, including alumni. Students are invited to join the honor society based on academic excellence; faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to join based on scholarly distinction.

The IUP chapter supports student success by hosting study sessions for students taking graduate study entrance exams, sponsoring awards at the IUP Scholars Forum, and providing networking and leadership opportunities. Members also help organize and facilitate various service projects and the chapter's annual induction ceremony.

Several students in the IUP chapter have received competitive Phi Kappa Phi scholarships, including a 2012 Phi Kappa Phi Walter and Adelheid Hohenstein Fellow Award; national fellowships for graduate study; study abroad scholarships; and Love of Learning awards. IUP's Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society chapter has been honored for the past six years with Circle of Excellence recognition. This honor recognizes chapters that promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and engage the community of scholars in service.

By receiving the Chapter of Excellence distinction, the IUP chapter is recognized for meeting frequently, holding annual initiations, and applying frequently for Phi Kappa Phi's select scholarships, grants, and fellowships.

The Circle of Excellence Platinum honor is given to chapters who scored a perfect 100 on a criteria scale that evaluates chapter health indicators. By receiving the Platinum distinction, the IUP chapter is recognized as a thriving organization that holds annual initiations, upholds the Society Bylaws, regularly attends chapter training opportunities, and submits a chapter-endorsed nominee to the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship Program.

“Phi Kappa Phi is proud to recognize these chapters with the Circle of Excellence awards,” Mary Todd, Phi Kappa Phi executive director, said. “Our chapters are the lifeblood of our Society, and we are delighted to celebrate their success.”

The award includes a commendation letter from the society, special recognition on the Phi Kappa Phi website, a specially designed logo for use in chapter communications, and a $300 cash award. This award will be used to defray the cost of joining Phi Kappa Phi for a student facing financial hardships.

“It has been an honor to serve as president of IUP's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi,” chapter president Shannon Phaneuf, a member of the IUP Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty, said.

“The Circle of Excellence Platinum Award is a testament to the devotion, innovation, and enthusiasm of our chapter officers, executive board, and members. We endeavor to promote the importance of character, life-long learning, and service to others to future generations.”