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 senior college women. When the society opened its membership to men in 1975, the organization strengthened the Preamble to the Constitution by including a commitment to the advancement of the women's status. While it is an honor to be selected for membership in Mortar Board, it is the commitment to continuing service that differentiates an honor society from an honorary. Accepting membership means accepting the responsibility and obligation to be an active participant in chapter activities. This commitment is an agreement to actively support the ideals of the society.
The mortarboard is an ancient symbol honor and distinction that carries with it great responsibilities. In the earliest universities, students adopted 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; and so we, students in many universities and colleges, are bound together by a motto shown to the world by three Greek letters--Pi, Sigma, Alpha-- representing the ideals of Mortar Board: service, scholarship, and leadership.
The Preamble to the Constitution delineates the purposes of Mortar Board:
We, the undersigned, recognizing the advantage of a national union of senior honor societies, do hereby unite to form a national society whose purpose shall be to facilitate cooperation among these societies, to contribute to the self-awareness of its members, to promote equal opportunities among all peoples, to emphasize the advancement of the status of women, to support the ideals of the university, to advance a spirit of scholarship, to recognize and encourage leadership, to provide service, and to establish the opportunity for a meaningful exchange of ideas as individuals and as a group.
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 on 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 more than 200 chapters, 50 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 200,000 college seniors have been initiated into the Mortar Board tradition of scholarship, leadership, and service.