Mortar Board Fast Facts

Founding date: February 15, 1918

Founding chapters: Cornell University, The University of Michigan, The Ohio State University, and Swarthmore College

Mission: Mortar Board, Inc., a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for their achievements in scholarship, leadership and service, provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to colleges and universities and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community. (Adopted July 1994)

Motto: Pi Sigma Alpha (ΠΣΑ), letters that correspond to three Greek words representing the ideals of Mortar Board: scholarship, leadership and service.

Symbol: A mortarboard, an ancient symbol of honor and distinction, represents the organization. Many early scholars also adopted the clerical or monastic robes as a symbol, illustrating their devotion to the profession of learning.

Colors: Gold (representing achievement) and silver (symbolizing opportunity)

Pin: Shaped like a black mortarboard with the Greek letters representing the motto engraved in gold

Official publication: The Mortar Board Forum is a semi-annual magazine that features stories about alumni, articles about chapter activities and accomplishments, current issues and trends, messages from Mortar Board national leaders, and more. It is distributed to approximately 18,000 collegiate and alumni members across the nation. Alumni can continue to receive the Mortar Board Forum by contacting the National Office to sign up for a subscription.

Membership: Over a quarter of a million members have been initiated across the nation. There are 231 chartered collegiate chapters nationwide.

National project: In 1985, the collegiate members decided they wanted each chapter to engage in and actively promote a national project each year. Over several years, the national project promoted many issues, and today’s permanent project is “Reading is Leading.”