Troy’s Spires chapter of Mortar Board earned the Gold Torch Award, a recognition conferred on the most exceptional chapters of the organization, at the annual national conference this past summer.
Mortar Board is an honor society that recognizes college seniors for achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. The Troy chapter of Mortar Board, Spires, currently has 47 members.
“We did receive silver in 2008-2009, but this is the first time we’re honored with gold,” said Alina Penjiyeva, admissions counselor and the adviser for Troy’s Mortar Board chapter.
Troy received the recognition along with 35 other schools nationwide.
“We are one of the smaller schools to be recognized,” said Mary Whitfield, a senior exercise science major from Eufaula and the president of Troy’s Mortar Board chapter.
According to Whitfield, the chapter is very proud to earn this distinction, which is presented to the most active chapters nationally.
Last year, the Spires hosted fundraisers at Milky Moo’s and Chick-fil-A, sold flowers at graduation ceremonies and also gave away book scholarships.
More than half of the proceeds from the fundraisers went to the maintenance of the chapter, and the other half went to the Boys and Girls Club.
“Gold Torch chapters add considerably to Mortar Board’s standing,” said Mortar Board’s executive director Jane Hamblin in a press release. “We are proud that they are providing high-impact educational programs for their campus communities. That’s what Mortar Board is all about.”
Mortar Board was founded in 1918 with chapters at four institutions. In 2013, it had 175 active collegiate chapters, according to its annual report.
Penjiyeva said that members can utilize Mortar Board for networking purposes.
“We have a strong network of excellent students throughout the United States and the world,” she said. “We are an international society as well, so when you become a part of it, you’re open to a network of so many students or so many alumni members.
“Even when you add it (a Mortar Board membership) to your LinkedIn profile, it allows you to connect to so many people from across the globe, and it obviously helps you professionally. It helps you with your résumé and just opens up a lot more opportunities.”
The annual national conference featuring the Gold Torch Award was held in Phoenix, Arizona. While the Spires members didn’t attend the 2015 conference, they intend to attend next year’s conference in Atlanta.