Phi Beta Kappa

Chapter Activities

The Theta of Texas Chapter seeks to recognize and celebrate scholarship in the liberal arts through its activities. Examples include sponsoring scholarly lectures and co-sponsoring student initiatives.

Visiting Scholars Program

Each year the Theta of Texas Chapter seeks to sponsor a Visiting Scholar, one of 12 or 13 distinguished scholars selected annually by the national Phi Beta Kappa Society office. These individuals visit more than 100 colleges and universities, spending two days at each one, meeting informally with students and faculty members, taking part in classroom discussions, and giving a public lecture open to the entire academic community. 

The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.  Priority is given to those institutions not located in major metropolitan centers or that do not have extensive resources on which to draw for similar programs.


The 2024-2025 Visiting Scholar lecture by Dr. Martin Kern takes place on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2024.

Martin Kern Martin Kern, the Joanna and Greg ’84 P13 P18 Zeluck Professor in Asian Studies at Princeton University, specializes in the study of Chinese antiquity. The author and editor of numerous books and articles crossing the disciplines of literature, history, religion, and art, he studies the practices of textual composition, transmission, and hermeneutics in the Chinese manuscript culture of the first millennium BCE. He is further interested in the comparative study of antiquity and currently co-edits Philological Practices: A Comparative Historical Lexicon, a project spanning more than twenty premodern philological traditions from around the globe. His current monograph projects include Performance, Memory, and Authorship in Ancient China: The Formation of the Textual Tradition and The Chinese “Classic of Poetry” in Ancient Manuscripts: Studies in Poetry, Poetics, and the Sociology of Text. Kern also serves as President of the American Oriental Society (2023–2024) and directs the “International Center for the Study of Ancient Text Cultures” at Renmin University of China (Beijing). 


Cynthia F. Moss, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Mechanical Engineering, at Johns Hopkins University


Ricardo Padrón, Professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia


Edward Ayres, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus at the University of Richmond


Richard Prum, William Robertson Coe Professor of  Ornithology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Curator of Ornithology and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History


Francis Su, Benediktsson-Karwa Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College


Mary Miller, Sterling Professor of the History of Art, and Senior Director, Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University


Barbara J. Grosz, Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences, Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University


Blaire Van Valkenburgh, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles


Bambi B. Schieffelin, Collegiate Professor and Professor of Anthropology, New York University


Lee Epstein, Provost Professor of Law and Political Science and the Rader Family Trustee Chair in Law, University of Southern California


John A. Agnew, Distinguished Professor of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles


Jack Goldstone, Virginia E. and John T. Hazel Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University


Linda Gordon, Professor of History, New York University


Chris Impey, University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy, University of Arizona


Steven Shapin, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University


Virginia Sapiro, Breckinridge professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison


Phillip Gossett, Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music, University of Chicago


Giles Gunn, Professor of English and Global & International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara


Susan McClary, Professor of Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles


Manthia Diawara, Professor of Comparative Literature and Film, New York University


James Boyd White, Hart Wright Professor of Law/Professor of English, University of Michigan


Douglass C. North, Luce Professor of Law and Liberty, Washington University

Scholarships and Internships

The Phi Beta Kappa Society supports the growth and development of liberal arts and sciences students through scholarship and internship opportunities:

Key into Public Service Scholarship

Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society, celebrates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and champions freedom of thought. The Society invites online applications for its new Key into Public Service Scholars program. This initiative will award $5,000 undergraduate scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C. for up to 20 rising sophomore, junior, and senior liberal arts and sciences students interested in pursuing public service careers. Society membership is not required.

Characteristics of ideal recipients include intellectual curiosity, interdisciplinary breadth and depth of arts and sciences coursework, leadership propensity, and service to others. Interested students should learn more and apply online by December 31, 2019.

Key Into Public Service Scholarship Information and Application