The academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa — the oldest Greek-letter society in the United States — was founded at the College of William and Mary in Virginia in 1776.

Attachment 158638. John Heath, the creator and first president of Phi Betta Kappa.

Organized to encourage free intellectual discussion about all subjects, it began as a secret society complete with initiation rites and secret handshakes despite having a charter membership of just five students.

Attachment 158637