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Mortar Board initiation

The Aurora chapter of Mortar Board at Ohio Northern University welcomed 50 new initiates on Thursday, Feb. 20 in the English Chapel. Mortar Board, a national honorary society for college seniors, was founded on the ideals of superior scholastic ability, outstanding and continual leadership and dedicated service to the college or university community. Each year, Mortar Board initiates are "tapped" into the society by outgoing members, typically in front of the new members' peers during class. This year's tapping occurred on Feb. 10.

According to Vice President Haley Armstrong, the benefits of Mortar Board are vast. "Mortar Board has allowed me to meet and network with leaders across campus," she said. "I'm a part of honoraries within my majors, but Mortar Board has me working with students from different departments."

In addition to providing opportunities for students to come together across majors, Mortar Board is dedicated to service. Members describe their service to the university as "behind the scenes." Projects include Secretary's Day flowers and Reading with Santa at the Ada Public Library as part of their national philanthropy, Reading is Leading.

Recent changes in the applicant screening process led to the 2014-2015 Aurora chapter of Mortar Board having the most diverse class in terms of majors and colleges. The new members' first opportunity to meet their fellow initiates was at the initiation ceremony where many were surprised with a visit from parents and family members. Initiates were also able to get acquainted with each other at a dinner in the McIntosh ballroom immediately following the ceremony.

Mortar Board was founded in 1918 by female representatives from The Ohio State University, Swarthmore College, The University of Michigan, Syracuse University and Cornell University. Previously an all-women's society, men were granted membership to Mortar Board in 1975 after Title IX regulations passed to prevent sex discrimination on campuses receiving federal aide. Mortar Board has been officially present at ONU since 1973. Prior to that, the Student Council at ONU instated a Senior Honorary that granted membership to both men and women in 1956.

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