Keyholder Frances Simpson organized other keyholders on campus in 1900 to petition the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa for the right to found a chapter at the University of Illinois. After a seven-year proposal process, the chapter was approved, and initiated its first class of students in 1907.
Constitution and By-Laws of the University of Illinois chapter have been re-written several times in our history, most recently in 2004.
- The Chapter Constitution specifies the goals and legal status of the organization. Changes to the chapter constitution must be approved by the national United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa.
- The Chapter By-Laws specify procedures for nominating and electing officers, and procedures for modifying the induction criteria. By-Laws may be changed by the chapter at any time.
- The Criteria for Member Selection may be changed by the chapter at any time. The United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa sets certain minimum induction requirements that must be met by any chapter founded after 1952 (see the page on criteria); requirements for induction at the University of Illinois are somewhat stricter than the national requirements.