Phi Kappa Phi receives Circle of Excellence Gold status

May 13, 2019
 toy drive

In December, Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson and Daniel Parker looked at some of the items Clarion University employees donated for local children.

Clarion University’s Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi has received the Circle of Excellence Gold status for its outstanding performance in promoting scholarly excellence on campus.

According to chapter President Dr. Marilyn Harhai, the chapter coordinates a toy and book drive each year, during the holidays, on behalf of the president. The chapter works to support academic excellence and scholarship on campus through its activities such as sponsoring speakers and the Clarion Call.

Student vice-presidents attend a weeklong leadership summit in the summer prior to assuming their duties. The chapter also contributes to the Potty Press, where Vice President Dr. Tony Vega supplies trivia. Phi Kappa Phi chapters all over the country hold books drives in the spring and the Clarion chapter will launch its inaugural drive as part of this national campaign in 2020.

"Having honor societies on campus for our students to join and participate in is exceptionally important," Harihai said. "Institutionalized recognition of academic achievements, being part of a national network of scholars, and having access to resources are only a few of the benefits that having a chapter brings to Clarion University students."

Harhai recognizes that maintaining a chapter is hard work for the chapter members and officers.

"The Circle of Excellence Gold Status is recognition of that commitment. The immediate past president of the chapter, Dr. Pam Gent deserves special acknowledgment as her tireless work on behalf of the chapter set the foundation for the award," Harihai said. "Congratulations to the current officers who have each served the organization in various capacities on this recognition of their contributions to maintain and grow a strong Phi Kappa Phi chapter at Clarion."
Phi Kappa Phi membership is earned and by invitation-only, and requires a nomination approval by the chapter.

"Joining a college honor society is a prestigious addition to a student's resume. Phi Kappa Phi only accepts the top-performing students in terms of academics," Harhai said.

Requirements include:

  • Juniors must have completed at least 72 credit hours, with at least 24 semester hours at their current institution, and rank in the top 7.5 percent of their class.
  • Seniors must have completed at least 90 credit hours, with at least 24 semester hours at their current institution, and rank in the top 10 percent of their class.
  • Graduate students must have completed at least 18 graduate hours or the equivalent at their institution and rank in the top 10 percent of their class.
  • Faculty, professional staff and alumni who achieve scholarly distinction may also be eligible.

Clarion University has many members of Phi Kappa Phi including President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Pamela Gent, Dean of Health and Human Services Dr. Jeffrey Allen, now-retired Dean of the College of Arts, Education and & Sciences Dr. Steven Harris, Chairperson of the Council of Trustees JD Dunbar, and Student Trustee Tree Zuzzio.

The chapter's officers include Harhai as president, Vega as vice president and scholarship, Gent as immediate past president, Dan Parker as secretary, Dr. Brenda Dede as treasurer, and student vice presidents Mackenzie May and Tiffany Melani.

Harihai explained that honor societies also come with opportunities to access leadership and networking opportunities as well as potential access to fellowships and grants.

"Each year, the chapter can nominate one student for a fellowship. The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi currently awards 50 Fellowships of $8,500 each, six at $20,000 each, and two at $35,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study," Harhai said. "Clarion student and Phi Kappa Phi member, Dylan McGlone received an award in 2017. Grants are also available. I received a Love of Learning grant this year to support my sabbatical research."

Last Updated 5/14/19