Whitney Nelson
President of Mortar Board,

The Mortar Board chapter at the University of Nebraska at Kearney recently received two of the top national awards at the 2012 Mortar Board National Conference held in Chicago, according to Whitney Nelson of Hastings, president of the UNK chapter.

The UNK chapter received Project Excellence and Golden Torch awards. The group was one of only 31 chapters to receive the Golden Torch Award, which is presented to only the most exceptional Mortar Board chapters.

“To be eligible for this award, we needed to perform at an exemplary level in all aspects of our organization, including scholarship, leadership and service,” Nelson said.

For the Project Excellence Award, the chapter was one of only 19 chapters receiving the award. The award was based on the numerous programs sponsored during the 2011-2012 school year— including “Books! Books! Books!” and the “Last Lecture Series.”

“Winning the Golden Torch Award, as well as the various Project Excellence Awards has encouraged us as a chapter to set higher goals,” Nelson said. “Receiving the number of Project Excellence awards we did, allowed us to set a great number of goals this year that will challenge us and push us to a new level of achievement as a chapter.

“These awards recognize events that have been executed in an excellent manner on campus, be that by promoting campus visibility, scholarship, leadership, service and/or campus improvement,” Nelson said.

Mortar Board is a national honor society for college seniors. Since its founding in 1918, the society has grown from four to 229 chartered collegiate chapters with more than a quarter-million members across the nation. The UNK chapter has 25 members.

Selection of Mortar Board members is based on the students’ campus involvement throughout their college years. Students who are selected for membership must have at least a 3.2 overall grade point average on a 4.0 scale, be recognized as campus leaders, and have an active history of service to the university and community.