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Ole Miss Welcomes Spring 2021-22 Phi Kappa Phi Initiates

More than 140 University of Mississippi students were welcomed into one of the oldest and most prestigious honor societies in the world Thursday afternoon.

The Phi Kappa Phi honor society’s mission is “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

The ceremony was held at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Gertrude Ford Center.

“Membership into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation only and is open to those who have a consistent record of academic excellence,” said Jeremy Loenneke, Phi Kappa Phi president and associate professor of Exercise Science. “To be selected for initiation is a tremendous honor and means that you represent the very best of your class.”

Phi Kappa Phi has a long and impressive history.

In 1897 at the University of Maine, 10 senior students, two faculty members and the school president created an honor society that was different from the few others then in existence- one that recognized and honored excellence in all academic disciplines. Under the leadership of undergraduate student Marcus L. Urann, the group formed the Lambda Sigma Eta Society, which was later renamed Phi Kappa Phi from the initial letters of the Greek words forming its adopted motto: Philosophìa Krateìto Photôn, “Let the love of learning rule humanity.”

At the University of Mississippi, notable inductees include former chancellor Robert Khayat, the late Senator Thad Cochran and bestselling author John Grisham. Presidents, senators, Supreme Court Justices, governors, Pulitzer Prize winners, even astronauts count themselves as members of Phi Kappa Phi.

The Keynote speaker at today’s ceremony was Randall Pinkston, a veteran, award-winning journalist, who has worked as a White House correspondent for CBS and as a reporter in Mississippi and throughout the U.S.

Since retiring, Pinkston has taught journalism at Stony Brook University in New York, the City University of New York and Morgan State University in Maryland. He is currently a visiting professor in the School of Journalism and New Media.

Throughout his career as an educator, he has taught media performance, communications law and ethics, financial reporting and international reporting.

He is also serving as an adviser for NewsWatch Ole Miss, the student-run TV news program produced from the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center, and he has been named a fellow in the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

The College of Liberal Arts had 33 inductees; School of Engineering, 7; Patterson School of Accountancy, 17; General Studies, five; School of Business Administration. 30; School of Education, three; School of Pharmacy, three; School of Law, 2; School of Journalism and New Media, 10; and Graduate School, 28.

Several students were named as inductees in more than one school.

Please join the university in welcoming these 2020-2021 students to the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society:


Staff report

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