- Associated Press - Friday, August 3, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi State University will become home to a chapter of the prestigious academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa.

The university announced that the society’s governing board made the decision Friday.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum said the university has been seeking a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for 40 years.

“The granting of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter to Mississippi State is a testament to the outstanding faculty and administrators who have been working toward this most significant achievement,” Keenum said in a news release.

The honor society is for high-achieving undergraduate students.

MSU is creating a $1 million endowment to support the new chapter, which will induct its first members in the spring of 2019.

Fewer than 300 colleges or universities have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. MSU joins two other in-state schools with one - Millsaps College and the University of Mississippi.

MSU’s application effort has been led since 2007 by Robert West, a professor in the Department of English who was inducted into the honor society as a student at Wake Forest University.

A charter is granted to Phi Beta Kappa members of the faculty, not the university itself. The MSU news release said for the chapter to be maintained, members should comprise at least 10 percent of the full-time arts and sciences teaching faculty.

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