Connecticut Chapter Alpha-Pi-Beta of the National History Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta

Phi Alpha Theta (ΦΑΘ) is an American honor society for undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history. The society has over 400,000 members, with some 9,000 new members joining each year through 970 chapters nationwide.

Phi Alpha Theta was established on March 17, 1921, at the University of Arkansas by Professor Nels Cleven. Cleven had become convinced in his time at the university that a fraternity of scholars (which would accept men or women) was important for the study of history. He invited students to a meeting to form the society (then called the “University Historical Society”) on March 14, and the society was officially recognized on the 17th. In April, the decision was made for the society to be known by the Greek letters Phi Alpha Theta.

The Connecticut College chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, Alpha-Pi-Beta, was established on October 10, 2015, with Professor Frederick Paxton as adviser when Professor Lisa Wilson was department chair. The organization receives into membership senior undergraduates of history who attain exceptional standards of scholarship and academic distinction. Membership in an honor society is a worthy distinction in itself and, as a measure of academic achievement, it can provide a tangible advantage in a competitive world. All Alpha-Pi-Beta members receive a certificate of membership, four issues of the journal The Historian, and permanent enrollment in the society membership rolls, maintained by the national office. Thereafter, there are no annual dues or fees. Members who wish to continue supporting the honor society may do so by subscribing to The Historian and/or the newsletter.

On a competitive basis, moreover, the national office bestows awards for several categories including best chapter, book awards, undergraduate student scholarship, graduate student scholarship, and doctoral scholarship. Professor Lisa H. Wilson won the Phi Alpha Theta Book Award (2000) for the best "subsequent" book published by a member of Phi Alpha Theta in the field of history for her book “Ye Heart of a Man: The Domestic Life of Men in Colonial New England” (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).

Qualifying Connecticut College HIS majors are invited to join Phi Alpha Theta early in the spring semester of their senior year. The department gifts the inductees with the organization’s initiation fee and an honor cord for commencement.

More information about the Phi Alpha Theta organization.

Members of Phi Alpha Theta, Alpha-Pi-Theta chapter at Connecticut College.