Mortar Board, Inc. is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for their achievements in scholarship, leadership and service. The honor society provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to colleges and universities and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community.
Our chapter is the Mrs. Granville Wells Chapter at Indiana University, named after the mother of Chancellor Herman B Wells. Students approaching their senior year are invited to apply and then chosen based on their commitment to academics, leadership and community service. As many members making up one society, we strive to embrace our school and community, we seek to make Mortar Board a well-known campus organization that students value and we stand by our commitments of service and leadership.
Mortar Board is an active organization, sponsoring events designed to promote educational activities, foster campus-community relations, and raise awareness of our organization. This year, Mortar Board has held a forum with the new Dean of Students, Dean Goldsmith, and has planned many fundraising and service opportunities. The chapter is also active in various philanthropic events. Mortar Board is comprised of IU students who thrived not only academically, but who have also dedicated themselves to improving the campus and community during their college years. The prestige of the chapter continues with every new class of seniors selected each year based on their scholarship, leadership, and service.
Mortar Board began as the first-ever national organization honoring senior college women founded in 1918. Today, it has grown into a comprehensive honor society that selects first-rate members who exemplify the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service. Mortar Board is an active honor society that requires members to uphold these ideals through campus and community service, academic achievement, and leadership. Today there are over 220 chartered chapters across the nation. Famous members include: Condoleezza Rice, Drew Brees, Bruce Littlefield, Jimmy Carter, and Lance Armstrong.
1915 A member of Mortar Board, a local honor society at The Ohio State University, met a member of Pi Sigma Chi from Swarthmore College on the campus of the University of Chicago. Each woman wore a small pin in the shape of a mortarboard. Through discussion, they realized each pin represented an honor society for women with similar values and procedures.
1918 Representatives from Cornell University, The University of Michigan, The Ohio State University, Swarthmore College and Syracuse University held the founding meeting on February 15 on the campus of Syracuse University. Each university chose to join the national organization but Syracuse. At this time the pin, motto and Bylaws were adopted. The organization remained nameless.
1919 Although the organization had informally been called “Mortar Board” in numerous pieces of correspondence since the founding meeting, the name was not made official until the second national convention, held at The University of Michigan. It was decided that national officers would come from ranks of alumni.
1923 Official delegates of each chapter in attendance at the national convention determined that districts in Mortar Board should be established to help facilitate the growing size of the organization, now consisting of 18 chapters.
1937 Mortar Board was invited to become a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS). Mortar Board was the only organization composed entirely of women to be recognized by ACHS at this time.
1955 Delegates from Mortar Board’s chapters voted to establish the Mortar Board Foundation Fund. The purpose was to create a means by which contributions might be able to advance the purposes of the organization.
1970 By decision from the delegates at the national conference, a National Office for Mortar Board was established. The National Office was to be located on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
1973 Mortar Board instituted an award to honor women who had made outstanding contributions to the status of women, consistent with the society’s ideals, known as the National Citation. The first citation was presented to Congresswoman Martha W. Griffiths of Michigan.
1975 The ramifications of Title IX, an act which prohibited sex discrimination within organizations on campuses that were recipients of federal funds, were taken into consideration and membership was opened to male students. The purpose of the organization at this time was amended to include “to promote and advance the status of women.”
1976 The purpose was revisited, and affirmed it “to emphasize the advancement of the status of women” as well as “to promote equal opportunities among all people.”
1982 As a result of diminishing government support for higher education, chapter representatives voted to direct six percent of the national membership dues into the Mortar Board National Foundation fellowship program.
1985 Mortar Board delegates initiated a national project to be selected biennially, with the first being organ donor awareness.
2002 Delegates voted to make a pro-literacy project, “Reading is Leading,” the permanent national project for Mortar Board.
2005 The first male national president of Mortar Board began his term at the national conference.
2007 The first male executive director of Mortar Board assumed his position