Mortar Board celebrates initiation, welcomes newest members

Puget Sound’s Otlah Chapter of the Mortar Board honor society recently selected 28 new members. Founded in 1918, Mortar Board is a national honor society that aims to recognize the exemplary accomplishments demonstrated by college seniors, such as scholarship, leadership and services.

The idea for the society initially began in 1915 when a member of Ohio State University’s own local honor society, also called Mortar Board, met a member of Pi Sigma Chi on the University of Chicago campus. Both women wore similarly shaped pins, and consequently found that they both represented their own respective honor societies for women.

After joining forces to create the Mortar Board that exists today, the society grew enormously in size, and in 1937 became the only organization recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) that was made up of entirely women.

Mortar Board maintained their composition of women only until 1975, when they opened membership up to male students. The national bylaws were then modified “to emphasize the advancement of the status of women” as well as “to promote equal opportunities among all people.”

The board now consists of 230 chartered chapters across the nation, with over a quarter million members. Notable members include Judith Resnick, an astronaut on the Challenger, and Condoleezza Rice, renowned politician and educator.

The Otlah chapter was chartered at the University of Puget Sound in 1959, with 12 original seniors that demonstrated academic achievement, in addition to qualifications of service and excellence at the University.

The Otlah chapter has further changed their interpretation of the national by-laws and seeks to “promote equal opportunities and advancement among all peoples, regardless of gender, creed, sexual orientation, or race.”

Renee Meschi, the Communications Director of the Otlah Chapter, said that students selected for membership “have shown strong initiative, accomplishing great things both on campus and in the community.” Meschi is excited for the new members. “Now, Otlah Chaper initiates will have the chance to convene with dedicated peers, pursuing goals together that will better both the campus and the greater Tacoma Community,” she said.

Newly Initiated Members:

Clayton Jacobson

Anna Elliott

Mara Gartzke

Emma Wilson

Shelby Willis

Alison Goo

Loring Brock

Jack Elder

Benjamin Boe

Beth Anderson

Heidi Henderson

Liz Roepke

Maddie Janssen

Katie Breece

Bonnie Cramer

Paige Dahlberg

Carolyn Donaldson

Daniel Thorson

Allison Drummond

Katie Frye

Lauren Hamilton

Alexander Hayman

Liz Harbaugh

Jacob Imlay

Bebe La Grua

Louisa Raitt