USCB Chapter of Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society Wins Coveted National Award for the Third Time

October, 2015

BLUFFTON, S.C. – For the third consecutive year, the local chapter of Gamma Beta Phi, the national honor society at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, has won the Exemplary Chapter Award from the national organization for combining excellence in education with community service.

The achievement is particularly significant considering that the USCB chapter, now commemorating its 50th year as a member of the Gamma Bata Phi Society, is one of only two of the society’s 195 chapters to win the Exemplary Chapter Award for more than two consecutive years. The USCB chapter won the award in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

To win the award, members of the chapter must complete a series of conditions beyond the 22 required to attain the Distinguished Chapter Award. The USCB chapter routinely earns the Distinguished Chapter Award on an annual basis.

With 150 members, the USCB chapter of Gamma Beta Phi is one of the largest organizations at the university. Its members are admitted by invitation only after maintaining a 3.2 grade point average and completing 12 credit hours. Those inducted into the honor society pledge to promote the principles of scholarship, character and service to the community. Students are required to perform at least four hours of community service each semester.

To earn the Exemplary Chapter Award, USCB’s Gamma Beta Phi members volunteered to work with the Bluffton Library on a bilingual program for children. They collected more than 3,000 books for the library, which were then sold to raise funds for library projects. Working in conjunction with the Education department at USCB, the students started a homework help program to aid nonnative English-speaking students in the lower grades.

“This is a wonderful award,” says Rena Kratky, M.Ed., a Spanish instructor in the university’s Humanities department. Kratky serves as the chapter’s adviser. “I’m proud of the students’ involvement and the fact that we work with some of the other organizations on campus. For example, we worked with the Education department and the Education Club on the Read across America initiative. We worked on projects with the Sand Shark Veterans, the Sociology Club and the Student Nurses’ Association. Since we’ve worked with all of these organizations, I really feel this is USCB’s award.”

Chapter member will travel to the University of Mississippi to attend the Gamma Beta Phi Society’s national convention Feb. 26-28. They will be awarded a patch, which they may affix to their chapter banner, identifying them as a winner of the 2014 Exemplary Chapter Award.  

The Gamma Beta Phi Society was chartered in March of 1964 in Spartanburg, S.C., by a group of Southern college educators. Since then, its membership has grown to more than 40,000 in 195 chapters on campuses in 28 states. The USCB chapter was chartered in 1965.

Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 750), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university’s two campuses serve a diverse student body of 1,980 students. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, SC, offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. It is home to Sand Shark athletics. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort’s downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort’s many art galleries. Students enjoy opportunities on Hilton Head Island, including the USCB Center for Event Management and a Coastal Ecology research partnership with Vagabond Cruise. USCB serves 1,500 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) members, who participate in more than 1 million course hours annually, placing OLLI at USCB in the top 10 in the country. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

For more information on the USCB Chapter of the Gamma Beta Phi Society, contact Rena Kratky at 843-208-8335 or  

For more information on the University of South Carolina Beaufort and its academic programs, contact Lynn McGee, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Advancement and External Affairs, at 843-208-8240 or