Chi Beta Phi National Science Honorary (ΧΒΦ) is an honorary scientific society for undergraduates. The object of the organization is to promote interest in science and to give recognition to scholarly attainment in science. Members participate together in events of scientific interest and wholesome fellowship. Activities of the Honorary are not restricted to any one particular discipline of the scientific field but reflect endeavors in all areas of science. Therefore, the novice student of science is exposed at a crucial time in their college career to the many possibilities offered by several scientific areas of study, while the advanced student is afforded an opportunity to keep abreast of important advancements in science outside of their specialized field of interest.
Chi Beta Phi consists of regular, honorary, and associate members, who have received acceptance into the membership of an affiliated chapter. A member may be an undergraduate student, graduate student, alumnus of, or teacher in the institution in which the chapter is located. In addition, they must show a marked interest in science and have a scholastic average in all college and/or university courses and in all science courses, taken prior to election to chapter membership, higher than that required for graduation by institution, although a higher average may be required by any chapter. Membership is for life and requires payment of only one national life membership fee. Chapter dues and initiation fees are regulated by the individual chapters.
A shield with beveled edges; stamped on the face of the shield in the upper left corner (as faced) an electrode at discharge, symbolizing Physics; in the upper right corner a microscope, symbolizing Biology and Psychology; midway between these and in the point of the shield, a star, symbolizing Mathematics and Astronomy, with the surrounding nimbus representing the computer sciences; in the lower point of the shield crossed retorts, symbolizing Chemistry and Geology; across the center and face of the shield a band, bearing the Greek letters Chi Beta Phi.
Chi Beta Phi originated in the mind of John Howard Greene during his senior year at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA. While working in the laboratory, Mr. Greene conceived the idea of a general science fraternity which would give to undergraduates special opportunities to discuss the latest achievements in science and the outstanding problems in his field of endeavor. With the assistance of his classmates and three professors in the science departments of Randolph-Macon, and with faculty approval, the Fraternity was organized in April, 1916. For four years Chi Beta Phi existed as a local organization. However, during the school year 1920-21, an expansion program was inaugurated and three chapters were installed (College of William and Mary, Hampden-Sydney College, and Emory University).
On May 5 and 6, 1922, the first National Convention was held in Williamsburg, VA. It was here that the real organization of Chi Beta Phi began. At the first convention a system of nomenclature was put into effect. Each chapter was assigned a Greek letter which was given out by the chapter’s beginning in Chi Beta Phi. Hence, Randolph-Macon College became Alpha chapter, the first born of Chi Beta Phi.
The Fraternity steadily continued to grow through the years and on May 13, 1925, Chi Beta Phi became a chartered National organization. On May 27, 1935, Chi Beta Phi was approved as an associated society by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Chi Beta Phi was solely a society for men until May 11, 1939, when it merged with the sister society Chi Beta Phi-Sigma and became Chi Beta Phi National Science Fraternity. Rho Chapter was reinstated as the first co-educational chapter. In 1999 the National Conference approved a name change to Chi Beta Phi National Science Honorary.
Today the Honorary consists of more than 25 chapters located throughout the eastern United States. It has a growing membership which numbers about 7,000. Once a year, the chapters meet to discuss business and welcome new chapters to the organization. Everyone comes to enlighten their minds. However, none of this could have ever been without the dream of science major John Howard Greene.
The units of the Honorary are the Grand Chapter, consisting of five members who are designated as the Board of Directors of the organization, and the local chapters holding charters issued by the Grand Chapter. The government of the Honorary is vested in an annual national business conference and in the Grand Chapter. The business conference is composed of the Grand Officers and one delegate from each chapter. In the interim between meetings of the national convention, the Grand Chapter is the ruling body, although any action of the Grand Chapter is subject to recall by a three-fourths majority vote in the chapters.
Grants are available each year in the amounts of $250, $150 and $100 to support original research. All members from chapters in good standing are eligible to apply. Recipients are expected to present their results at National Conference. Presentations at the National Conference are judged and the top three receive cash awards of $100, $75, and $50. All eligible presenters received a grant of $50.