|Mortar Board was founded in 1918 as a Women's Honorary, but invitation was extended to men in 1975. It is certainly an honor to be inducted into our society, but more importantly, it is an acceptance of responsibility and obligation to actively support the ideals of our society. To read more about our national history, please visit our headquarter's website.|
|Local History of the Cap & Gown Chapter|
In the spring of 1924, seven senior women at the University of Wyoming, recognizing the need for a senior women’s society, formed the organization known as “Cap and Gown.” The second group of Cap and Gown was granted the privilege of announcing the members-elect at the President’s Honors Assembly in the spring. Since that time, this ceremony has become the tradition of Torchlight Laurels.
On November 10, 1933, under the guidelines of E. Luella Galliver, UW Dean of Women and a Mortar Board member from the University of Michigan, Cap and Gown received its Mortar Board National Charter.
In the early years, some five to ten senior women were selected each year. In recent years 40 to 50 members are selected each year. In 1975, due to Title IX, Mortar Board voted to admit men to membership after 49 years of women-only status. In 1976, the Cap and Gown chapter invited men to membership for the first time.
Throughout the years, Mortar Board’s Cap and Gown Chapter has continued to exemplify the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service in a variety of projects and activities. The annual Top Prof night was held in 1979.
During the Homecoming weekend in the Fall of 1995, a tree and commemorative plaque were dedicated on campus in recognition of four women who, at that time, had a total of 100 years of service to UW Mortar Board and are a large part of the reason the chapter is so active and has such an excellent record. These women are the late E. Luella Galliver, Peg Tobin, Charlotte Davis, and Sally Steadman.
In the fall of 2007, the Chapter dedicated a small amphitheater area near the Wyoming Union as Honors Court. It is dedicated to all of the Honor Societies on the UW campus and is available for outdoor ceremonies.
In 2008, the Chapter was awarded the Ruth Weimer Mount Award for the most outstanding chapter in the nation. While this award was given to a specific group of members, it was truly the result of the chapter’s long-term dedication to excellence.
During Homecoming 2008, the local chapter celebrated its 75th anniversary with a celebration at which many former members were present. The Ruth Weimer Mount Award was officially presented to the UW chapter by the National Mortar Board President, Sally Steadman.
In June 2012, the 1958-59 Chapter dedicated a display the importance of the eight women who held the position of Dean of Women at UW. These women are Minna Ava Nella Stoner, Carrie Goodwin Rexford, Emma Howell Knight, Benice Sanford, Helen Bishop Dunnewald, E. Luella Galliver, Margaret "Peg" Tobin, and Charlotte Hearne Davis. In March 2013, this same class presented the President’s Medallion to the current chapter. This medallion was constructed from the pin that was given, posthumously, to E. Luella Galliver after she was accepted as the 92nd charter member of the Mortar Board Alumni Association. It is worn by the president on ceremonial occasions hosted by the chapter.
The UW Mortar Board Chapter has consistently received National Chapter of Excellence and Golden Torch Awards. It continues to provide recognition to the campus community through Top Prof for faculty, Tip of the Cap for staff, Torchlight Laurels for students and recognition of outstanding on-campus academic advising and exceptional service and dedication to UW. The local chapter participates in a number of service activities, including those that parallel the national theme of “Reading is Leading.”
Last Updated November 2017