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

The awards program recognized activities during the 2016-17 school year.  Hope received a “Golden Torch Award” and five “Project Excellence” awards.  The conference was held on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 5 and 6, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The college’s Dianne Portfleet 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.

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 four “Golden Torch Award” recipients for the 10th year in a row.

The chapter’s five “Project Excellence Awards” were for the chapter’s Friendship Prom, pumpkin carving for the Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) Program, Wearing of the Blue Breakfast, Last Lecture Series, and Leadership and Scholarship Series.

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 231 collegiate chapters with more than 250,000 initiated members across the nation.

The Diane Portfleet 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 35 members during the 2016-17 school year.

The chapter was renamed for former co-adviser Dr. Dianne Portfleet in the spring of 2016 in recognition of her dedicated service to the chapter from 2002 through the end of the 2015-16 school year, when she stepped down from the role.  Portfleet is an associate professor of English at Hope, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1988 and is continuing to teach.

The co-advisers are Dr. Heidi Kraus, assistant professor of art; Dr. Marc Baer, professor emeritus of history; and Eva Dean Folkert, lecturer in interdisciplinary studies.  Current chapter president Joe Bustamante, a senior from Williamston, attended this year’s national conference on behalf of the chapter.