Skip to Content
Entrance to Taylor University

Taylor Launches National History Society Branch for Phi Alpha Theta  

  • By: James R. Garringer, Director of Media Relations
  • Published:
Taylor University Entrance Wall

Taylor University’s Department History, Global and Political Studies has established a campus chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, one of the nation’s premier history fraternities. 

 “Taylor’s Phi Alpha Theta chapter will enrich students’ intellectual experiences by exposing them to additional speakers, readings, and community gatherings,” said Dr. Ben Wetzel, Assistant Professor of History at Taylor and the faculty sponsor. “Membership in this prestigious honorary will also assist them in gaining admittance to graduate schools and earning job interviews with employers.”

Wetzel said the application for Phi Alpha Theta was accepted by the national society earlier this year and a campus visit from the society’s president, which was to have taken place during the spring semester, was postponed after Taylor and nearly every other college and university throughout the United States sent their students home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Phi Alpha Theta will offer a variety of events to our members, such as guest lecturers, panel discussions, reading groups, pizza and movie nights, and more,” Wetzel added. “Students do not have to be history majors to become members of Phi Alpha Theta; they only need to meet a set of requirements such as 12 hours of history courses, an overall GPA of 3.0, and a history GPA of 3.1.

The student officers for the chapter's inaugural year are:

  • President: Jed Barber
  • Vice-President: Elizabeth Hammond
  • Secretary: Jared Smith
  • Treasurer: Benjamin Woolridge
  • Historian: Will Shroyer

Phi Alpha Theta (ΦΑΘ) is an American honor society for undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history. The society has over 400,000 members, with some 9,000 new members joining each year through 970 chapters nationwide.

Phi Alpha Theta was established on March 17, 1921 at the University of Arkansas by Dr. Nels Andrew Cleven. Cleven had become convinced in his time at the university that a fraternity of scholars (which would accept men or women) was important for the study of history. He invited students to a meeting to form the society (then called the “University Historical Society”) on March 14, and the society was officially recognized three days later. A month later the society was formally named with the Greek letters Phi Alpha Theta.