Phi Theta Kappa is a prestigious honor society that develops leadership, scholarship and fellowship amongst the brightest students at two-year colleges. At Saddleback College is it one of the largest student organizations.
The honor society is not open to all students. To be eligible for membership, students must have completed 12 units and maintain a 3.5 or higher GPA. The high standards make this group available only to students who go above and beyond in the classroom.
“The members here are some of our best students. They finish here and go on to some of the finest institutions in the United States,” said faculty advisor Kevin O’Connor, dean of liberal arts and learning resources.
Members of Phi Theta Kappa are eligible for $37 million worth of scholarships. These transfer scholarships are offered by over 700 colleges and universities. For students who are excelling in the classroom access to this type of scholarship money is a huge incentive to joining.
At some campuses around the country, the honor of being inducted as a member of Phi Theta Kappa comes at the end of an academic career and is simply a fantastic addition to a resume.
However, the Saddleback College chapter has tried to focus on the fellowship and philanthropic goals by involving members in projects throughout the year.
President of Phi Theta Kappa at Saddleback College, Michael Clute, 34, fine arts, said they attended an international meeting of Phi Theta Kappa last year in Florida to learn about how to be a philanthropic organization that can make a difference on its home campus. Part of being a strong chapter of Phi Theta Kappa is to not only succeed in the classroom but also to be leaders around campus and in the community.
“We have a college project and a community project lined up for this year,” said Clute. “We are getting together a forum, kind of like a town-hall forum, to open up a dialogue in terms of the status of the financial situation with education here in California.”
They hope to involve legislators, instructors, and students in the discussion.
“Another project will be an honors’ gala that will incorporate all the honor societies and merit based groups to celebrate their achievements,” Clute said.
Invitations for the 2010 induction should be going out sometime in the near future. Most of the invitations will be sent via e-mail.
“We can have as many as 500 to 700 students eligible for Phi Theta Kappa which is really quite a compliment for the college,” said O’Connor.
“I was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa in fall 2009 and I attended meetings all last spring,” said Kelly Scott, 20, biochemistry. “I really love being a part of the college and I’m hoping to organize a fundraiser this year.”
This semester’s induction ceremony will be held on Nov. 22. New members will bring family and friends to acknowledge their achievements in higher education.
“It’s a great chance for us to honor the sacrifices that students have made to maintain such a prestigious goal,” Clute said.
Phi Theta Kappa at Saddleback College has a great record in terms of members inducted and returning members. The honor society will be a stable of Saddleback College for years to come.