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Phi Beta Kappa, Eta of Illinois, was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia), Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors society. Today, there are 283 chapters of Phi Beta Kappa in the nation – Rockford University is one of just 11 colleges and universities in Illinois with the distinction of having a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Chapters, as they are established in each state, take on the corresponding Greek letter. Since our chapter was the seventh to be established in Illinois, it became the "eta of Illinois”, eta being the seventh letter of the alphabet.
The Phi Beta Kappa Chapter at Rockford University (Eta of Illinois) was established in 1953, during the tenure of President Mary Ashby Cheek. Each year since that time, the chapter inducts a select few of its graduating seniors into the Society. These are young men and women who have excelled academically, not only in their chosen major, but also in a broad course of study emphasizing the liberal arts. They have studied a foreign language, they have demonstrated a knowledge of mathematics and science suitable to a liberal arts education, and, through their study, and they have gained an appreciation of literature and the fine arts.
The following students accepted election and were inducted in 2012:
President Robert L. Head Ph.D.
Dr. Fred Hadley
Dr. Jules Gleicher