The Phi Beta Kappa key
The Phi Beta Kappa key traces its origins to the era of the American Revolution. Conceived in 1776 by a group of talented undergraduates at the College of William and Mary as an emblem of their secret “philosophical society,” the key proclaims Phi Beta Kappa’s centuries-old conviction that “The love of wisdom [is] the guide of Life” – Philosophia Biou Kybernetes.
As the Society they created encompassed more of the nation’s finest colleges and universities, its key became a universally recognized mark of academic achievement in the liberal arts and sciences. So it remains to this day, whether it is worn by a president, a Supreme Court justice, a college professor, or an entrepreneur, the key’s venerable pointing finger proclaims for all to see the wearer’s commitment to Phi Beta Kappa’s ancient principles (represented in the three stars) – friendship, morality, and learning.
Each key is engraved with the member’s name, chapter, and calendar year of election.
Phi Beta Kappa keys are available in a variety of sizes and styles made to specifications set by the society. Members can order keys directly from Hand and Hammer Silversmiths.