MSU inducts nearly 130 into prestigious national honor society

Contact: Allison Matthews

Pictured during a recent campus induction ceremony for MSU students joining the university chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest honor society for students in all academic disciplines, are (left-right) Jason Keith, MSU Dean of the Bagley College of Engineering and PKP treasurer; Laura Terry, a senior information technology services major from Huntsville, Alabama, and PKP student vice president; and Kathy Prater, research associate II at MSU’s T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability and PKP vice president. (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Nearly 130 students are new members of Mississippi State University’s chapter of the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines.

Granted through invitation only, Phi Kappa Phi membership is limited to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of second-term juniors. Faculty and other non-students achieving scholarly distinction also qualify. Candidates are selected not only on the basis of superior scholarship, but also based on good character.

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, PKP currently has more than 300 university and college chapters throughout North America and the Philippines. The organization’s motto is, “Let the love of learning rule mankind.” For more, visit

Jessica Tegt, assistant extension professor in MSU’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center and president of the university PKP chapter, said the organization has a long history of service projects and scholarly activities.

“We have assisted local school science programs to participate in state competitions, assisted in scholarly award ceremonies, donated funding to special needs students and supported programs that promote diversity in STEM,” Tegt said. She emphasized many benefits to both student and faculty members.

“Both the Literacy and Love of Learning grants have been awarded to MSU PKP faculty in recent years. These awards are nationally recognized competitive grants,” Tegt explained.

After being inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and receiving the Junior Class Phi Kappa Phi scholarship, Avery Palmer, a junior accounting major from Marietta, Georgia, and Rebecca Smith, a junior veterinary medical technology major from Byhalia, take a celebratory picture for Smith’s mother, Carol. Nearly 130 new members were recently inducted into MSU's chapter of the honor society, which is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective honor society for students in all academic disciplines. (Photo by Russ Houston)

She said PKP is an excellent channel for connecting scholars across campus because the honor society integrates all disciplines.

“Personally, I have been able to expand my research and teaching network through PKP and have been able to introduce PKP students to undergraduate research, as well as graduate school research projects,” she said.

“Students are able to network with top scholars through PKP and explore career or graduate school options. At the national level, there are even more benefits for awards, grants and scholarships, among other membership benefits,” Tegt said.

For more on MSU’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, visit

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