posted August 26, 2013

Hope Mortar Board Chapter and Advisor Earn National Awards

Dianne Portfleet

The Hope College chapter of Mortar Board has again earned multiple honors during the national organization’s annual summer conference, with the group’s long-time co-advisor Dr. Dianne Portfleet receiving one of only two top advising awards.

The awards program recognized activities during the 2012-13 school year.  Hope received a “Golden Torch Award” and 19 “Project Excellence” awards.  The conference was held on Friday-Sunday, Aug. 2-4, in Atlanta, Ga.

The honors follow the college’s Alcor chapter of the honorary society having received multiple awards during each of the past several years, including being named the top chapter during the national conference in 2010.  There’s a five-year wait before the chapter will be eligible to be considered for the top award again.

Portfleet, an associate professor of English who has advised the Alcor chapter for 11 years, received the “Excellence in Advising with Distinction” award, which honors longstanding, extraordinary service.  Recipients are chosen from among advisors who previously received the national organization’s “Excellence in Advising Award” for providing exceptional support to help their chapter achieve goals, serving as a role model and demonstrating constant leadership, professionalism and spirit of service.  Portfleet received the “Excellence in Advising Award” in 2007.

“She’s a great leader, and she also encourages student leadership and initiative, which is what Mortar Board is all about,” said Katherine Genzink, a 2012 Hope graduate from Holland who was the chapter’s president during the 2012-13 school year and was among those who nominated Portfleet for the award.  “She provided a lot of encouragement, leadership and enthusiasm, which helped our chapter to excel.”

The “Golden Torch Award” honors chapters that have excelled in the areas of scholarship, leadership and service.  The Hope chapter was one of the top five “Golden Torch Award” recipients for the sixth year in a row.

The Hope Alcor chapter received 19 “Project Excellence Awards,” after receiving 17 awards last year, 12 awards in 2011, and eight awards in both 2009 and 2010.  Among the projects that Hope’s awards recognized were:  the Last Lecture Series; the Friendship Prom; the Thanksgiving Dinner for international students; the “Wearing of the Blue” breakfast for students on the Dean’s List; full college scholarships for eight students in Tanzania; Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) program pumpkin carving and Christmas stocking stuffing; Dance Marathon participation, raising $23,000, the highest total by one of the year’s participating student organizations; raising more than $11,000 through the campus Relay for Life held for the American Cancer Society, also the highest total by a participating student group; full tuition for a nursing student in El Salvador; sponsoring a child in the Philippines through Compassion International; and 35 Kiva Microloans for projects in various countries.

The Hope chapter had 36 members during the 2012-13 school year.  The chapter pursued 29 projects and fundraisers.

Portfleet, who has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1988, has also been honored at Hope through the years.  She won the “Hope Outstanding Woman” Award in 2003, was presented the annual “Hope Outstanding Professor Educator” (H.O.P.E.) Award by the graduating class in 2006 and was the college’s Commencement speaker in May 2007.

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 230 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.

Portfleet co-advises the Hope chapter with Rob Pocock, adjunct assistant professor of communication.  Portfleet and Pocock both attended the conference on behalf of Hope along with senior Mallory Smith of Holland, who is the chapter’s president during 2013-14, and senior Rachel Butts of Brighton, who is the chapter’s vice president during 2013-14.