One of the nation’s leading academic honor societies has recognized the University of Maryland Global Campus as a “Circle of Excellence Silver Chapter” for its community service work.
Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. The society, which has chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States and the Philippines, is guided by the motto translated from the Greek: “Let the love of learning rule humanity.” And the invitation for membership is limited to the top 7.5 percent of juniors and 10 percent of seniors and graduate students.
By receiving the Silver distinction, the UMGC chapter is recognized as being a thriving organization that has gone “above and beyond to promote academic excellence.” UMGC became a separate Phi Kappa Phi chapter apart from other Maryland state universities in 2008.
“Phi Kappa Phi is important to UMGC because it is recognized worldwide,” said Rudy J. Watson chapter president and department chair of Business Management in the university’s School of Business. “Students feel that it gives them a stamp of approval for their achievements. It’s a way they can distinguish themselves from everyone else.”
And by being a part of the organization, the university is able to build a network with other chapters across the country to create opportunities for UMGC students, he said.
Community service is also a part of Phi Kappa Phi’s tradition, and Watson said the chapter received its Silver recognition in part because of its annual drive to collect books for the Friends of the Library in Montgomery County.
Last spring, the chapter placed bins around the campus and collected about 600 books of all kinds that were donated to bookstores where they are sold to raise money to support the libraries.
“Being an academic institution, we wanted to encourage people to read,” Watson said, in explaining why the chapter chose to conduct the book drive as its community service project.
Judy Kitusa, who received her bachelor’s degree in information management, her master’s in cybersecurity and an MBA—all from UMGC—is the chapter’s student vice president.
“For me, I was a working mother when I went to school,” she said. “Just having a chapter that recognizes your outstanding work while you have everything else going on in your personal life is amazing. It was a pat on the back that we are proud of what you did.”