Mortar Board, Inc. is a national college senior honor society that recognizes seniors for their excellence in service, scholarship and leadership. Founded in 1918, Mortar Board provides opportunities for students to succeed, even beyond their college educations.
Students who are invited to apply to Mortar Board are typically juniors going into their senior years, with at least 3.2 GPAs and 70 credit hours. After students apply to the honor society, they are chosen through a selection process by the current Mortar Board members.
The selection process takes place within one day. Students write essays involving each of the three pillars: service, scholarship and leadership. The current members score the essays and the top numbers are selected to be reviewed again. At the second review, the members argue for applicants to be considered for membership.
“Maybe we know an applicant personally and they could be a great contribution to Mortar Board, even if they didn’t look good on paper,” said Amanda Peterson, Mortar Board member.
This year, there were about 180 applicants and 35 were accepted.
“It just recognizes those who don’t just go to school to only attend school … they go above and beyond,” Peterson said.
“We take pride in the fact that this organization is not just one you pay dues for and never hear from again,” Peterson said.
UMKC’s Mortar Board has many ongoing volunteer activities. The members actively volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House, Bridging the Gap and KC Rakes. They volunteered at a decathlon and hosted a book drive for Turn the Page KC. Mortar Board collected more than 200 books for this drive.
Mortar Board’s upcoming volunteer events will support Synergy Services. There will also be a scavenger hunt to benefit children’s literacy.
Mortar Board membership includes benefits.
“We have everything from internships and scholarships down to discounts on insurance,” Peterson said.
Mortar Board participates in a national conference every year. The students submit the activities performed within the year to the national board, and those activities are taken into account for different awards. UMKC’s Mortar Board received two national awards in the past year, after not having received any in the recent past. Awards are only given to the top 5 percent of Mortar Board chapters in the nation.
“We received the Golden Torch Award, given to the top 5 percent of chapters nationally,” said Dr. William Self, advisor for UMKC’s Mortar Board. Self received the National Excellence in Advising Award.
Senior Andrew Wrisinger, the current Mortar Board president, was selected to have a seat on the Mortar Board National Governing Council. UMKC’s Mortar Board recently started a new program called Rising Roos. Sophomores are chosen to join Mortar Board earlier than their senior year. They are chosen on the basis of the three pillars. If the students maintain the GPA requirement and continue to excel with the three pillars, they can continue to be members of Mortar Board in their senior years without the application process.
“As a perk for being a Rising Roo, they are immediately a member of Mortar Board once they are seniors,” Peterson said.
This is a way to reward sophomores that are doing a great job and encourage them to continue to do well in the future. The new Rising Roos will be announced in the upcoming week.