posted August 28, 2012

Hope Mortar Board Chapter Earns National Awards

The Hope College chapter of the national Mortar Board honor society has continued its tradition of recognized excellence, again receiving multiple awards during the national organization’s annual summer conference.

The honors follow 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.

The awards program recognized activities during the 2011-12 school year.  Hope received a “Golden Torch Award” and 17 “Project Excellence” awards.  The conference was held on Friday-Sunday, July 20-22, in Chicago, Ill.

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 fifth year in a row.

The Hope Alcor chapter received 17 “Project Excellence Awards,” after receiving 12 awards last year and eight awards during each of the two years before that.  Hope’s awards recognized the chapter’s website, including a promotional video and the best video featuring a chapter president; commemoration of national Mortar Board Week and Mortar Board visibility; fall and spring retreats; participation in the organization’s national book drive and an alumni book drive that raised more than $15,500 for Jefferson Elementary; Last Lecture Series; disability advocacy; participation in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, raising more than $16,000; Friendship Prom; “President for a Day” swap and other fund-raisers; “Wearing of the Blue” breakfast for students on the Dean’s List; Thanksgiving dinner for international students; Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) program pumpkin carving and Christmas stocking stuffing; full college scholarships for eight students in Tanzania; tuition for a nursing student in El Salvador; Dance Marathon participation, raising more than $7,000; providing malaria nets through Compassion International and Compassion Child; and Kiva Microloans for projects in various countries.

The Hope chapter had 35 members during the 2011-12 school year, and the president was Marc Tori, a 2012 graduate from Pinckney.  The chapter pursued more than 28 service and fund-raising projects during the 2011-12 school year.

The Alcor chapter was co-advised during 2011-12 by Martie Bultman, who is the wife of Hope College President James E. Bultman, and Dr. Dianne Portfleet, who is an associate professor of English.  Portfleet, who received a national “Excellence in Advising” award during the 2007 event, made two presentations during this year’s conference.

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 229 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 is co-advising the chapter during the 2012-13 school year with Robert Pocock, adjunct associate professor of communication.  Portfleet and Pocock both attended the conference on behalf of Hope along with senior Elizabeth Bilquist of St. Charles, Ill., who is the chapter’s treasurer this year; and senior Katherine Genzink of Holland, who is the chapter’s president this year.