Board was the first national organization honoring senior college
women. The evolution of Mortar Board mirrors an attempt to keep
pace with an ever-changing society.
It was on
the campus of the University of Chicago in the fall of 1915 when a
member of Mortar Board from The Ohio State University met a member of
Pi Sigma Chi from Swarthmore College. Both women wore similar
pins in the shape of a mortarboard. Through discussion they
realized each represented an honor society for women with similar
election methods, operating procedures, ideals, and traditions.
The main difference in the honor societies was their names.
founding meeting for the organization of the national honor society
took place at Syracuse University on February 15, 1918.
Representatives were from Cornell University, The University of
Michigan, The Ohio State University, Swarthmore College as well as
Syracuse University, which did not choose to join the national
organization when it became Mortar Board following the founding meeting.
founding meeting adopted the pin of The Ohio State University, a small
black mortarboard. A motto was adopted, taken from the Greek
words meaning service, scholarship, and leadership, to be represented
by three Greek letters, Pi Sigma Alpha, the letters which appear on the
pin. The constitution was adopted from a tentative plan outlined
by Swarthmore. Officially the society remained nameless until the
second convention at The University of Michigan, but correspondence
with prospective chapters following the February 1918 meeting referred
to the new organization as Mortar Board, the name and spelling of the
Ohio State honor society.
for more history