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Pi Delta Phi was founded as a departmental honor society at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1906. After twenty years as a local chapter, Pi Delta Phi declared itself the National French Honor Society and chartered the Beta Chapter at the University of Southern California in 1925.
The Society expanded slowly during the next fifteen years. Since the end of World War II, Pi Delta Phi has enjoyed phenomenal growth. At the present time, it numbers more than 285 chapters established at representative public and private colleges and universities in almost every state, as well as chapters in Paris and Aix-en-Provence.
The Society was admitted to membership in the Association of College Honor Societies in 1967.
The official publication of Pi Delta Phi is the Newsletter.
The purpose of this Society shall be (1) to recognize outstanding scholarship in the French languages and its literature; (2) to increase the knowledge and appreciation of Americans for the cultural contributions of the French-speaking world; (3) to stimulate and encourage French cultural activities.
There are two categories of membership: regular and honorary.
Regular members include graduate and undergraduate students who shall be nominated in recognition of their academic achievement in at least one semester or quarter of upper division French, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in French. Graduate students who are candidates for an advanced degree in French are eligible for regular membership. Honorary members include: the French faculty of the sponsoring institution; members of the faculty at large, diplomats and community leaders who have shown a strong support of French culture.
National dues for regular members are $25.00. Each member receives the official key, a certificate and a card indicating life membership in the organization.