The Hope College chapter of Mortar Board has again earned multiple honors during the national organization’s annual summer conference.

The awards program recognized activities during the 2014-15 school year.  Hope received a “Golden Torch Award” and 28 “Project Excellence” awards, the most of any chapter in the nation, as well as additional recognition in the banquet brochure as the leading award-winner.  The conference was held on Friday-Sunday, July 31-Aug. 2, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The college’s Alcor chapter of the honorary society has received multiple awards during each of the past several years, including recognition as the nation’s top chapter with the “Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award” during the national conference in 2010.  There’s a multi-year wait before a winning chapter may be re-selected for the top award, and the Hope chapter will again be eligible next year.

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 eighth year in a row.

The chapter’s 28 “Project Excellence Awards” follow having received 25 awards last year, 19 in 2013, 17 in 2012, 12 in 2011 and eight in both 2009 and 2010.  Among the projects that Hope’s awards recognized were:  raising more than $12,000 for Holland East Elementary School; raising more than $19,100 (the top fund-raising student group at Hope) during the college’s Relay for Life held on behalf of the American Cancer Society; raising more than $21,8000 during the student-organized Dance Marathon (the top fund-raising student group at Hope) held on behalf of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; raising $12,000 for scholarships for several students in Tanzania; raising $7,000 for scholarships for students and Nibakure Children’s Village in Rwanda; providing more than $2,500 in KIVA loans; a new logo design for the chapter; the “Wearing of the Blue Breakfast” for students on the Dean’s List; the Friendship Prom; and the Thanksgiving dinner for international students.

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.  The Hope chapter had 38 members during the 2014-15 school year.

The chapter is advised by Dr. Heidi Kraus, assistant professor of art and director of the De Pree Art Center and gallery, and Dr. Dianne Portfleet, associate professor of English.  Those attending the conference on behalf of Hope were Portfleet; senior Colin Rensch of Kalamazoo, who is the chapter’s president during 2015-16; and senior Jake Chipka of Waterville, Ohio, who is the chapter’s vice president during 2015-16.