The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) was one of six new chapters established by the Phi Beta Kappa Society in 2006. The decision was made on Saturday, October 28, at the society's 41st Triennial Council in Atlanta, and fewer than 10 percent of the nation's higher education institutions are selected for Phi Beta Kappa membership. From New Jersey, only TCNJ, Princeton University, Drew University, and Rutgers University have earned this distinction. On April 9, 2007, the TCNJ chapter officially received its charter and inducted its first member.
TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein said, “This is a tremendous honor and opportunity for the students and faculty of The College of New Jersey. The distinction of Phi Beta Kappa is a welcome acknowledgement of the tremendous educational experience offered at TCNJ, and the presence of a chapter on campus will even further enrich that experience.”
John Churchill, secretary and chief executive officer of the society, said, "Phi Beta Kappa exists to honor students who have excelled in those studies, and to advocate for the liberal arts and sciences both on campus and in the broader world. I am delighted to welcome these institutions to Phi Beta Kappa. The chartering of chapters on these campuses is a recognition of their excellence in the liberal arts and sciences."
Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society and has more than 500,000 members. Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America’s leading colleges and universities. The society sponsors activities to advance these studies — the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences — in higher education and in society at large.
Phi Beta Kappa stands for freedom of inquiry and expression, disciplinary rigor, breadth of intellectual perspective, the cultivation of skills of deliberation and ethical reflection, the pursuit of wisdom, and the application of the fruits of scholarship and research in practical life.