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Mortar Board Fellowship Application Essay


Mortar Board 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 for women. When the Society opened its membership to men in 1975, the organization maintained a tribute to the founders and its heritage by strengthening the Preamble to the Constitution by including a commitment to advance the status of women. In 1932, the San Diego State University Chapter of Mortar Board gained official establishment as the Cap & Gown Honor Society. In 1965, our chapter received recognition as a member of the National College Senior Honor Society, or simply what is known today as Mortar Board. 

The Jane K. Smith Cap and Gown Chapter accepts 45 students from an eligible pool of over 2,500 based on scholarship, leadership, and service. We hold monthly meetings and put on many events during the school year. One of our biggest events is the Faculty-Staff Appreciation Dinner, which allows each member the opportunity to invite faculty or staff members who have particularly inspired the member during his or her college career. In the past, we held the Emeritus Faculty & Staff Outstanding Service Awards Ceremony, which honored community members of San Diego State University for their service to the community by placing a bronze plaque at the base of a campus tree.

Tapping for the 2017-2018 Mortar Board initiates occurred during the spring semester. During tapping, current members of Mortar Board go into the classes of the 45 newly selected students and invite them publicly to join the society. If you are eligible, we strongly suggest you apply! Being selected to Mortar Board is a high honor.

Mortar Board Ideals 

The preamble of the Mortar Board organization describes scholarship, leadership, & service:

  • To facilitate cooperation among senior honor societies and to contribute to the self-awareness of its members,
  • To promote equal opportunities among all people,
  • To emphasize advances in the status of women,
  • To support the ideals of the university,
  • To advance a spirit of scholarship,
  • To recognize and encourage leadership,
  • To offer service and to set up the opportunity for a meaningful exchange of ideas as individuals and as a group.  

Local Chapter Activities 

Members of Mortar Board work together to play an active role in leadership and service on campus and in the community. Present activities of the Cap and Gown Chapter include: 

  • Faculty and Staff Appreciation Dinner
  • Philanthropy Projects
  • Mortar Board Daily Planner and Calendar of Events
  • Participation in Honors Council
  • Tapping Honorary Members
  • Alumni Reception
  • Senior Luncheon 

Requirements for Active Members

Mortar Board is a highly active organization that requires a time commitment and consistent participation from its members. Other campus honors organizations offer membership to students without establishing societal responsibilities. Membership into Mortar Board is not the same. Consideration for admittance requires an extensive application & essay before students are selected.  Our members must engage themselves in local chapter activities, monthly meetings, and special events.

Dr. Henry L. Janssen Honors Council Award 

Since 2000, student Mortar Board members that have records indicating personal participation in all five of the SDSU’s campus-wide honor societies (Phi Eta Sigma, Golden Key, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, and Phi Beta Kappa) receive the Dr. Henry L. Janssen Honors Council Award. Recipients are recognized in the SDSU Commencement Program and receive a scholarship award.

Apply for 2018-2019 Mortar Board Membership here: 


Applications are Due Friday, February 16th, 2018 at 5 pm

Welcome to K-State's chapter of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society!

Members of Mortar Board National Senior College Honor Society – founded on the values of scholarship, leadership, and service – live out these values through helping others each day. Founded in 1918, the Kansas State Mortar Board chapter contains a group of 32 of the best and brightest men and women from the K-State campus. This organization allows students to step out of their comfort zone while exemplifying some of our greatest leadership attributes on our campus and throughout the Manhattan community.

At the 2017 Mortar Board National Conference in Phoenix, the Kansas State XIX Chapter was honored with the Mortar Board the Golden Torch for our chapter's outstanding year. The continued determination and achievement earned Kansas State's chapter our thirteenth consecutive national award.

The Mortar Board Senior Honor Society allows members to serve something larger than themselves while making new friendships formed on the foundation of three of life's most important values: leadership, scholarship, and service. Mortar Board has been one of the most dynamic and exciting organizations that I have been involved in, and has definitely made my senior year at K-State more rewarding! I am so honored to have been able to be a part of this life-changing organization. I strongly encourage all of you to look into Mortar Board and consider applying for your senior year.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and learning more about Mortar Board. If you have any questions, please feel free to use any of us as a resource.

Go 'Cats!

James Houghton, 2017-18 Chapter President

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