The Alcor chapter of Mortar Board at Hope College has been presented the Golden Torch Award and Project Excellence Award for the 2005-06 academic year.

The awards were presented during the organization's national conference held July 28-30 in Columbus, Ohio.

Hope's chapter was one of 19 recipients of the Golden Torch award which honors chapters going above and beyond timeliness and excellence while exemplifying the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service. Hope was the only Michigan college or university to be honored.

The Hope chapter was also among 27 recipients of the Project Excellence Award. They were honored for their project "Valentine's Dance for the Disabled," where they invited chapter members to spend the evening dancing with guests from the local special education ministries and My Brother and My Sister group homes to celebrate Valentine's Day. The chapter provided the music and refreshments, and the guests in attendance danced the night away.

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 214 collegiate and 43 alumni chapters with more than 240,000 initiated members across the nation.

The Alcor chapter president during the 2005-06 school year was Jennica Skoug of Portage, Mich. The chapter's advisors are Dianne Portfleet, adjunct assistant professor of English, and Martie Bultman, wife of Hope College president James E. Bultman.

Students attending the conference were Lisa Smith, a senior from Dearborn who is the incoming Mortar Board president, and Jacob Holton, a senior from Chelsea.

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 will have 35 members during the 2006-07 school year.

The Alcor chapter was also honored by the national organzation in 2000 when it received the Silver Torch award for excellence in maintaining the society's standards. The chapter also received two Project Excellence Awards in 2000.

Mortar Board provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to college and universities and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community. Some notable Mortar Board alumni include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Lance Armstrong, and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.