Chapter History

Soon after East Carolina University achieved university status in 1967, its chief administrative officers, Leo W. Jenkins (President) and Robert L. Holt (Vice President and Dean of the University), set out to establish on campus a prestigious honor society to recognize and encourage the achievement of academic excellence. In discussions with Robert W. Williams, Provost, and John M. Howell, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, it was decided that Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest honor society recognizing excellence in all fields of study, was the appropriate choice.

With the support and assistance of the university administration, Herbert Rothfeder, Professor of History, made the preliminary contacts with national Phi Kappa Phi officials, organized the East Carolina faculty who were members of Phi Kappa Phi into an alumni group, and prepared the necessary documents for East Carolina University to petition for a Phi Kappa Phi chapter. On November 1, 1969, after much diligent work, the petition for a Phi Kappa Phi chapter was sent to the national office. This petition was supported by the résumés of the group that became the originating members of Phi Kappa Phi at East Carolina University.

In a matter of weeks, the executive Council of Phi Kappa Phi approved East Carolina’s petition and so notified the University on December 4, 1969. Professor Rothfeder, as first president of the newly established chapter, together with the Phi Kappa Phi alumni group he had organized, began preparations for the formal installation of the East Carolina University Phi Kappa Phi chapter. This chapter, the one hundred fourteenth approved by the national organization, was formally installed on April 17, 1970. The 25 charter members were University President, Leo W. Jenkins; Provost, Robert W. Williams; newly appointed Dean of the Graduate School, John M. Howell; newly appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Richard L. Capwell; first Chapter President, Herbert P. Rothfeder; and faculty members Douglas J. McMillan, Mary Jo Bratton, Kenneth J. Davis, Manolita Fernandez, Warren B. Bezanson, Patricia N. Daniel, Blondy E. Scott, Robert L. Dough, A. Ray Jennings, Caroline L. Ayers, P. Wayne Ayers, James T. Barrs, Frederick L. Broadhurst, Richard A. McCorkle, Florence S. Weaver, Frederick Sorenson, Ione J. Ryan, Karen W. James, Ann L. Bellis, and Robert Woodside. The chapter installation also marked the first initiation of student members, as 37 juniors and seniors were inducted.


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  • 1976-1977 Frederick Broadhurst
  • 1975-1976 Ione Ryan
  • 1974-1975 Oscar Moore
  • 1973-1974 Mary Jo Bratton
  • 1971-1973 Blondy Scott
  • 1969-1971 Herbert Rothfeder