Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Massachusetts at Harvard College was established under a charter dated December 4, 1779. The charter was granted, along with one for Yale, by the original society founded three years earlier at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. The charter was brought from there to Harvard by Elisha Parmele A.B. 1778, who initiated four juniors on the day before Commencement 1781. The first meeting of the new chapter was held on September 8, 1781. That makes Harvard's chapter the oldest in continuous existence (the William and Mary and Yale chapters having been inactive for different periods).

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Teaching Prize

teaching prize awardedEach year, the undergraduate members of Alpha Iota, led by four Phi Beta Kappa Marshals, decide on the Phi Beta Kappa awards for teaching excellence given to three members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the Literary Exercises. Only the undergraduate members of the Chapter can nominate teachers for this prize. Letters of nomination should be emailed to the chair of the committee who, this year, is Professor Alison Simmons.