Phi Theta Kappa's Mission
Phi Theta Kappa's mission is two-fold: 1) recognize and encourage the academic achievement
of two-year college students and (2) provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in
honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.
Information about Phi Theta Kappa
Phi Theta Kappa traces its beginnings to a Society that originated with six charter members under
the name of Kappa Phi Omicron at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, in 1910. The Society continued to grow and in the
spring of 1918 was one of many honorary groups in Missouri. At a meeting of the presidents of the Missouri junior colleges
for women in 1918, it was decided to organize a new honorary society, chapters of which would have a common character, stand,
and similarity of organization. The name Phi Theta Kappa was chosen, and the Society was incorporated in Missouri as a national
organization. Founders modeled many aspects of the new Society after the prestigious senior college honorary society, Phi
The eight charter colleges of Phi Theta Kappa were Hardin, Stephens, Christian, Lindenwood, Cottey,
Howard Payne, William Woods, and Central. The alpha chapter was established at Hardin College, but was later moved to Stephens
College when Hardin College became a baccalaureate granting institution. Today, Cottey College, Nevada, Missouri, is the only
charter college with an active Phi Theta Kappa chapter.
For the first six years, Phi Theta Kappa confined its activity to women's junior colleges, but
in 1924 through constitutional amendment, the field of activity was enlarged to cover all junior colleges. In 1926, Phi Theta
Kappa expanded beyond the borders of Missouri and into coeducational institutions. The American Association of Community Colleges
recognized Phi Theta Kappa as the official honor society for two-year colleges in 1929.
In 1930, Margaret James (Mosal) became the first elected national president of Phi Theta Kappa
while attending Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi. She became national secretary in 1935 and moved the records
of the organization to her hometown of Canton. Mosal served as Phi Theta Kappa's chief executive for fifty years, retiring
as executive director in 1985.
In the early years, Phi Theta Kappa membership was conferred to students at time of graduation
and few programs and services were offered. The explosive growth of community colleges in the 1960s led Phi Theta Kappa to
expand its mission to reflect the nurturing philosophy of the institutions it served. Students were inducted as freshmen and
study programs were offered.
It was recently started at Los Angeles Southwest College by Ms. Miller and Dean Cobain. We hope
that when we leave LASC that we leave a legacy behind.