Students pose with the UCI Phi Beta Kappa banner at the 2023 induction ceremony.

On Thursday, June 13, 2024, the Phi Beta Kappa Mu of California Chapter at UC Irvine (UCI PBK) will celebrate its 50th anniversary with several events for the campus and local communities to enjoy. The celebration, dubbed PBK Day 2024, will honor the milestones and positive impact that UCI PBK has had over its 50-year history. Read on to learn more about UCI PBK and how you can participate in PBK Day 2024 and other upcoming events.

About The Phi Beta Kappa Society and UCI PBK

The Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) Society is the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States. Founded in 1776 at the College of William & Mary, PBK was established with the motto “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

Today, there are 293 PBK chapters at select campuses across the nation—all dedicated to championing education in the arts and sciences, fostering freedom of thought, and recognizing academic excellence. In 1974, UC Irvine joined the 10% of U.S. universities to boast a PBK chapter when a group of faculty secured a charter from the national PBK Society. 50 years later, UCI PBK remains a proud advocate for the liberal arts and sciences and continues to recognize scholastic excellence across campus.

UCI PBK membership is extremely selective, with only 5% of graduating seniors and 1% of third-year juniors invited to join each year. Students cannot apply for membership, and invitations to join are only presented to those who meet rigorous academic standards. The ideal UCI PBK member demonstrates intellectual integrity, tolerance for other views, and a broad range of academic interests. When a student is being evaluated for UCI PBK membership, consideration is given to the breadth and variety of courses taken in the liberal arts and sciences, especially those taken outside the student’s major and beyond their normal general education requirements. Meeting the minimum qualifications does not necessarily guarantee entry. Each year, many more students meet the minimum qualifications than can be elected to UCI PBK. Final decisions regarding membership are made by UCI PBK faculty members.

Given the selectiveness of UCI PBK membership, it is arguably the highest academic honor that undergraduate students can achieve at UC Irvine. Students who achieve UCI PBK membership boast a competitive edge in the marketplace and enjoy a mark of excellence on their resumes and CVs.

PBK Day 2024 Schedule of Events

To celebrate 50 years of excellence, UCI PBK is excited to host two special events that will be open to the entire UC Irvine and local communities. On June 13, 2024, join UCI PBK at the following:

  • PBK Bridge Dedication Ceremony 
    • Time: 1:00 pm-1:15 pm
    • Location: UCI Humanities Bridge
    • About: Join Michael Dennin, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Dean of Undergraduate Education, and Professor of Physics & Astronomy, as he unveils the inscription of PBK’s motto, “Love of learning is the guide to life,” on the UCI Humanities Bridge.
  • PBK Induction Ceremony and Reception
    • Time: 2:00 pm-3:30 pm
    • Location: UCI Student Center, Pacific Ballroom C & D
    • About: Congratulate the 2024 class of new UCI PBK inductees, made up of the top 5% of graduating seniors and the top 1% of juniors. This special ceremony will feature a keynote address delivered by UC Irvine Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Hal Stern and an award presentation conducted by founding UCI PBK members and honorary PBK member Michael Hingson, Ambassador for the National Federation of the Blind, 9/11 survivor, and New York Times best-selling author. Following the induction ceremony, there will be a catered reception for honorees, their guests, and other attendees.

Additional Events for the PBK Community

In addition to the PBK Day 2024 events, community members are invited to attend the Visiting Scholar events on April 16 and 17, 2024. The 2024 UCI PBK Visiting Scholar is Natalia Molina, Distinguished Professor and Dean’s Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Professor Molina specializes in History, Latinx Studies, Immigration, Gender, Foodways, and Public Health. Named the 2020 MacArthur Fellow, Professor Molina’s most recent book, A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community, chronicles the lives of immigrant workers, including Molina’s grandmother, who nurtured and fed their communities at restaurants that served as urban anchors.

Over the course of two days, Professor Molina will host two Visiting Scholar events for the UC Irvine community:

  • Public Talk: “Tell Your Story”
    • Date and Time: April 16, 2024, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm
    • Location: Humanities Gateway 1030
    • About: In this public talk, Professor Molina will share the strategies she and other historians have used to tell the stories of the underdocumented. Prior to the talk, attendees will enjoy a reception with beverages and hors d’oeuvres. Following the talk, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Professor Molina’s book and get their copies signed. RSVP for Tell Your Story.
  • Education Kitchen with Chef Jessica Van Roo
    • Date and Time: April 17, 2024, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm
    • Location: Nutrition Education Kitchen and the Palmer Room, Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute
    • About: Led by Chef Jessica Van Roo, UCI PBK student volunteers will help prepare dishes inspired by Professor Molina’s book A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community. Attendees will get the chance to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine steeped in culture and history.

For more information about PBK Day 2024, visit the UCI PBK website. Interested in supporting UCI PBK and honoring the academic achievements of UC Irvine students? Then consider giving a gift or contacting Jennifer Smith, Executive Director of Development with UCI Advancement, at to inquire about philanthropic support.