More than 60 Middle Tennessee State University students were recently initiated into Chapter 246 of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi during a campus ceremony. Approximately 77 faculty and staff members were also recognized as influential by student initiates.
MTSU’s Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 246 was established in 1987. Only the top 7.5%-10% of students in each college are invited to become a member of this all-academic honor society. The organization awards more than one million in fellowships and grants each year.
When students are initiated into Phi Kappa Phi, they gain access to benefits and resources designed to serve their academic and professional needs. Established in 1897, it is the oldest and most prestigious honor society for all academic disciplines with chapters on campuses across the country. Since its founding, more than 1.5 million members have been initiated, including those at MTSU this fall.
One of those members is Chad Allen, a graduate student pursuing a degree in aviation safety and security. He completed his undergraduate degree at Embry Riddle University in 2005. In the aftermath of 9/11, he pivoted his career aspirations and became a police officer in Indiana. However, due to an injury in the line of duty, he was medically retired from the force.
While serving as a police officer, he would occasionally work security for the Indianapolis Colts, where he met Matt Overton, an NFL long snapper. After Allen was medically retired, Overton happened to be in Tennessee with the Titans. Allen said he offered for him to come down and work with his trainer to help with recovery and rehabilitation. Allen’s wife, Emily, who is a nurse, was able to transfer to Vanderbilt, and the couple moved to where he would once again ignite his passion for aviation.
Allen started the graduate program at MTSU in January 2023 and currently works in the government sector. He and Emily have a 4-month-old son. He is schedule to graduate in May 2024. When he first heard about Phi Kappa Phi, he talked to his wife about it.
“Emily’s aunt is a dean at another university. She really explained the importance and history of the organization to me early in the graduate program,” he recalled. “I took her advice and I joined. Being accepted really means a lot. I hope to network and help others navigating their career options, but I also want to show a bright future for my son.”
“It is incredible to see the work these students do,” explained David Foote, Chapter 246 of Phi Kappa Phi president and a management professor in the Jones College of Business. “I am amazed at how dedicated and productive they are and the extent to which they really love learning. That is what college is all about.”
Today, Phi Kappa Phi recognizes and promotes academic excellence in all fields of higher education and engages the community of scholars in service to others.
Rachel Booher, the Chapter 246 Student Council president and a senior Japanese major, shares both Allen and Foote’s love of learning. She said she also loves all the volunteer opportunities, such as Walk for Cancer and Relay for Life, but the most influential part of Phi Kappa Phi for her has been the journey to promote literacy.
“We helped create a learning library and secured a literacy grant, which helped bring books to a rehabilitation center,” she recalled. “I love that Phi Kappa Phi is helping people of all ages learn to love literacy.”
This love of learning reflected by all members of the honor society is indicative of the Phi Kappa Phi motto: “Let the love of learning rule humanity.” For more information about the MTSU chapter, contact Foote at David.Foote@mtsu.edu.
— Robin E. Lee (Robin.E.Lee@mtsu.edu)