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 maintained a tribute to the founders and its heritage while strengthening the Preamble to the Constitution by including a commitment to the advancement of the status of women.
While it is an honor to be selected for membership in Mortar Board, the commitment to service 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 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 of devotion to the profession of learning. In recognition of this proclamation, 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 displayed to the world by three Greek letters: Pi, Sigma, Alpha, representing the ideals
of Mortar Board: Service, Scholarship, and Leadership.