It is no secret that fraternal (and other Greek-oriented) organizations have garnered a bit of a reputation across college campuses. While many institutions and their affiliated sections of Greek Life have done much to change their perception in recent years (volunteer work, fundraising, maintaining academic standards etc.), many still view these groups as they were portrayed in National Lampoon’s “Animal House.” Old habits die hard, as the saying goes.
This sentiment is also true of honorary societies happening to bear the same Greek monikers as social fraternities and sororities, though their missions differ greatly. Tony Serluco (’74), who currently serves on the Grand Board of the Phi Theta Pi honorary society as the Grand Chairman is passionate about raising awareness of this difference and highlighting the distinct benefits to membership within both social and honorary / academic groups. As an alumnus of TU’s chapter, he is a wealth of knowledge about the organization both within the Tiffin community and at the national level.
“I think college students can and should be involved in both,” says Tony, citing how each provides members with opportunities for personal and professional advancement. “I just wish the public didn’t automatically see academic honorary societies as another way to goof off while in college. I wish they didn’t see social orgs that way either, because there’s nothing wrong with having fun, making forever friends and helping others by volunteering, but groups like Phi Theta Pi focus exclusively on rewarding scholarly work.”
As Tony suggests, the national academic honorary society Phi Theta Pi only offers membership to those who excel in their coursework and are interested in making lifelong commitments to professional development. Founded on the principles of scholarship, leadership and moral character, the group prides itself on providing members with professional connections, scholarship opportunities and various ways to bolster credentials through both fun and rewarding acts of service and philanthropy.
“They are expected to meet strong academic standards. Members need to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 to remain in good standing, and we offer several monetary incentives to those who do more than the minimum,” says Tony. “Our members also take pride in serving TU by volunteering as tour guides when needed and are anxious to serve when called upon. Over the years, active members have volunteered their time within the Tiffin community at various charity and social events, Heritage Festivals etc.”
Enrolled students are encouraged to apply for one or several prestigious scholarships available to them through the organization and applicants undergo a rigorous vetting process for each. Current full time members at Tiffin University are permitted to apply for the George L. Dupey Scholarship. This award is distributed on an annual basis and a selection committee reviews applicants carefully. The awarded scholar is announced at the Annual Christmas Scholarship Dinner, sponsored by alumni members.
According to Tony, “George L. Dupey, for whom the scholarship is named, was a member of Phi Theta Pi at TU and a Professor of Business at TU for 37 years. Some of his titles included Chairman, Assistant Dean, Registrar and Director of Career Services. For several years, he also maintained the national office of the fraternity in Tiffin, Ohio.”
Another point of pride for Phi Theta Pi on the national scale is that its various cross-country chapters are encouraged to collaborate with each other on new initiatives at local, regional and national conferences. In addition to executive alumni board members being present, all current student members are encouraged to get involved as well. The organization also plans to gather for an upcoming Centennial Celebration.
“The event will take place in May of 2026 in Des Moines, Iowa,” says Tony. “We have a committee currently planning and working on this celebration, and it is our goal to overlap the Centennial event with our National Convention.”
This milestone of longevity is absolutely cause for celebration and acts as a testament to the many years of hard work and perseverance necessary for any organization to keep its head above water. The phrase goofing off certainly doesn’t apply to the men of Phi Theta Pi, and TU is proud of the work they and similar organizations (both social and honorary) are doing to combat these preconceived notions about the Greeks.
For more information about the Phi Theta Pi honorary society, go to phithetapi.com
Get a comprehensive list of the clubs and academic Greek organizations available at TU.