Avery Fowler Bowman, of Danville, is among the more than 350 students who were inducted into the UM chapter of Phi Kappa Phi for the fall 2020-21 semester.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines in 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."

Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is based on a student's sound character and academic standing. Juniors must have completed 72 credit hours and rank in the top 7.5 percent of their class, while seniors and graduate students must rank in the top 10 percent of their class.

Bowman is pursuing a B.S. in Integrated Mktg. Communications within the School of Journalism and New Media.

In a typical year, students are inducted into the society in a ceremony involving the university's top academic leaders, many of whom who are also members of Phi Kappa Phi. However, with safety protocols preventing large, in-person gatherings, the honor society's board still wanted to recognize outstanding students like Bowman.

"We chose to celebrate our 380 initiates via social media this year because we wanted the chance to spread the word of their accomplishment as widely as possible," said Debora Wenger, UM Phi Kappa Phi board member. "These are amazing students who represent the best of what college students can be, and the world just needs a little more to celebrate right now."

Phi Kappa Phi celebrated 60 years on the UM campus in 2019. The honor society was founded at the University of Maine in 1897. At Ole Miss, notable inductees include former chancellor Robert Khayat, the late Senator Thad Cochran and bestselling author John Grisham. Presidents, senators, Supreme Court Justices, governors, Pulitzer Prize winners, even astronauts count themselves as members of Phi Kappa Phi.

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state's flagship university. Included in the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, it has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics and business. With more than 23,000 students, Ole Miss is the state's largest university and is ranked among the nation's fastest-growing institutions. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school, nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy, and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action.

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