What is Mortar Board?

Mortar Board, Inc. is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for distinguished ability and achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service.  Mortar Board began in 1918 as the first national organization honoring women entering their senior year of college. When the society opened its membership to men in 1975, the organization maintained a tribute to the founders and its heritage by strengthening the Preamble of the Constitution to include a commitment to the advancement of the status of women.

While it is an honor to be selected for membership in Mortar Board, it is the commitment to continue to serve that differentiates an honor society from an honorary society.  Accepting membership means accepting the responsibility and obligation to be an active participant in chapter activities.

The mortarboard is a symbol of ancient honor and distinction that carries with it grave responsibilities.  In the earliest universities, students adopted the clerical or monastic robes as a sign that they were devoting their lives to the profession of learning, in recognition of which they received certain privileges. Such recognition is ours, and such responsibility is our privilege.  We, too, wear a distinguishing sign, the mortarboard.

In ancient days, students from many lands who spoke diverse tongues were able to meet on a common ground by using the classic language of learning; we, students in many universities and colleges, are bound together by a motto shown to the world by three Greek letters: Pi, Sigma, and Alpha.  These letters represent the ideals of Mortar Board: Scholarship, Leadership, and Service.

Mortar Board chapters across the nation are challenged to provide thoughtful leadership to the campus and community, to create an environment of effective communication, to move toward a meaningful goal, and to maintain the ideals of the society.  Each chapter has the autonomy to determine its own implementation of the goals, National Project, and resolutions and recommendations set forth by delegates to the National Conference.

Mortar Board is a national network that includes over 200 chapters, 39 alumni chapters, and 25 sections.  After graduation, members are encouraged to keep their names and addresses current with the National Office. Since 1918, more than 220,000 college seniors have been initiated into the Mortar Board tradition of scholarship, leadership, and service.

Some events that Mortar Board members have participated in during the 2014/2015 school year:
  • Cooked meals every Sunday for the Ronald McDonald House
  • Held a fall bake sale in the Davis Center
  • Attended a Mortar Board Alumni Brunch during Homecoming Weekend
  • Held a raffle at Homecoming Weekend
  • Collected personal and children's items for the Lund Family Center
  • Conducted a raffle (of items collected from local businesses) to raise money for community projects
  • Collaborated with the Women of UVM group to sponsor a conference focused on women's issues
  • Helped to organize the Burlingtin National Eating Disorder Association Walk