The oldest academic honor society for a modern foreign language in the U.S., Pi Delta Phi was founded as a departmental honor society at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1906. The society was admitted to membership in the Association of College Honor Societies in 1967. There are currently 410 chapters of Pi Delta Phi in the United States and two representative chapters at the American Universities in Paris and Aix-en-Provence in France. The purpose of the Society is to recognize outstanding scholarship in the French language and its literatures, to increase the knowledge and appreciation of Americans for the cultural contributions of the French-speaking world, and to stimulate and to encourage French and francophone cultural activities. The Omicron Upsilon Chapter at Indiana University Bloomington was founded in 2015.
There is a call-out via email to upper-level students in French each September for self-nominations. Student records are then checked, and students are informed whether they will be inducted at the October ceremony.