posted August 18, 2009

Hope Mortar Board Chapter Earns National Awards

The Hope College chapter of Mortar Board received multiple awards during the national organization's annual summer conference.

The event's awards program recognized activities during the preceding school year.  Hope received a "Golden Torch Award" and eight "Project Excellence" awards during the conference, which ran Friday-Sunday, July 24-26, in Chicago, Ill.

Hope's chapter was one of 32 recipients of the "Golden Torch Award," which honors chapters that have excelled in the areas of scholarship, leadership and service.  For the third year in a row, the Hope chapter was also one of the top five "Golden Torch Award" recipients and a finalist for the national "Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award."

The Hope Alcor chapter was one of 28 chapters to receive one or more "Project Excellence Awards."  Hope's eight awards recognized the chapter's First Book Alumni Book Drive, for which the chapter was first in the nation; Last Lecture Series; Wearing of the Blue Brunch; full college scholarships for eight students in Tanzania; Mortar Board Project Week; Candyland - the Disability Prom; the International Student Thanksgiving Dinner; and the Relay for Life held on behalf of the American Cancer Society, for which the chapter was first in fundraising.  The prom and scholarship programs were also honored in 2007 and 2008, and the book drive in 2008.

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service, and provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to college and universities, and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community.  Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 227 collegiate chapters with nearly 250,000 initiated members across the nation.

The Alcor chapter has existed at Hope since the 1936-37 academic year, although it did not become part of the national Mortar Board organization until 1961.  The chapter had 34 members during the 2008-09 school year, and the president was Alex Griffith, a 2009 graduate from Naperville, Ill.

The chapter is advised by Martie Bultman, who is the wife of Hope College president James E. Bultman, and by Dr. Dianne Portfleet, who is an adjunct associate professor of English.  During the 2007 conference, Portfleet received a national "Excellence in Advising" award.

Those attending the conference on behalf of Hope were Portfleet; incoming chapter president Abbie Gowman, a senior from Rochester Hills; and incoming vice president Erica Smith, a senior from Muskegon.