Phi Beta Kappa is the most prestigious academic society for undergraduates in the United States, and USD is the only institution of higher learning public or private in the state of South Dakota with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
Alpha Chapter, chartered in 1926, has enrolled some of the most distinguished graduates in the history of USD. Formally sheltered in the College of Arts & Sciences, Phi Beta Kappa is open by invitation to students who have excelled in the traditional liberal arts.
Every year, each of the 280 chapters submit a detailed annual evaluation report to the Washington, DC headquarters that considers, among other things, chapter activities as evidence for their commitment to Phi Beta Kappa's goals and the acceptance rate by students who are elected to membership in a chapter.
Alpha Chapter has long been noted for its practices. The national office sent two officers to the USD campus to learn best practices for other PBK chapters nationwide. Former PBK Secretary Doug Foard and current PBK Secretary John Churchill have both visited USD to initiate new members in Alpha Chapter of South Dakota.