Phi Beta Kappa
at Hamilton College
The Phi Beta Kappa Key is the symbol of the Society. Made in the early 19th century as a square silver shield, the key evolved into a rectangular gold key with a stem (the stem was originally used for winding watches but no longer serves that purpose).
On the front of the key are three stars representing the distinguishing principles of friendship, morality, and learning, while the hand pointing toward the stars symbolizes the ambition of scholars. The key is a distinctive symbol of academic achievement.
The society's motto, Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης, is represented on the key by the initials ΦΒΚ. The back of the key is typically engraved with the initials SP for Philosophical Society along with information particular to the member holding the key.