A photo of Phi Kappa Phi members from the 1900 University of Maine
Prism yearbook. UMaine's Colburn Hall, the location of President
Abram Harris' office, is considered the birthplace of Phi Kappa Phi.
Photos courtesy of
Fogler Library Special Collections
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University of Maine senior Marcus
Urann was sitting in a dorm room one night with a small circle of
friends when he floated his idea for promoting scholarship and its place
in higher education. The time had come, he said, to organize an honor
society for outstanding students of all academic disciplines.
Urann was a member of the UMaine Class of '97 — 1897. That year, with
the encouragement of then university President Abram Harris, Urann and
two classmates formed a local honor chapter, first called Lamda Sigma
Eta, then, briefly, the Morrill Society.
In 1900, the chapter was renamed Phi Kappa Phi, with a motto "let the
love of learning rule humanity." UMaine is Chapter 1.
That year, President Harris and the presidents of Pennsylvania State
College (now Pennsylvania State University) and the University of
Tennessee collaborated to expand the UMaine chapter into a national
What began with the initiation of 10 of UMaine's top students, the
president and two faculty members more than a century ago has grown into
a leading international honor society with a million members and 300
chapters worldwide. Its mission: "to recognize and promote academic
excellence in all fields of higher education, and to engage the
community of scholars in service to others."
"Lasting Impression" features a memorable person or event in UMaine