Dr. Michael C. C. Adams, Chair of the Department of History and Geography, applied to form a new chapter of Phi Alpha Theta at Northern Kentucky University in the spring of 1985 and requested that Dr. James A. Ramage serve as Faculty Advisor.
On April 16, 1985, Alpha Beta Phi Chapter was officially installed at a banquet in which 37 charter members from Northern Kentucky University were recognized: 22 students and 15 faculty. Dr. Chester R. Young, Professor of History at Cumberland College and member of the International Council of Phi Alpha Theta, presided over the initiation ceremony in the NKU University Center. Dr. James C. Klotter of the Kentucky Historical Society was the guest speaker at the first banquet.
Kenneth E. Hughes, the Chapter's first Historian, organized the Chapter journal Perspectives in History and served as its first editor. Scott K. Fowler was first President.