The Honors College supports the collegiate honors societies of the Honors Society Caucus, as well as Purdue Mortar Board, Iron Key and Old Masters, and encourages you to consider membership. Please use this website to learn more about these programs and what they stand for. If you have been invited to accept membership in a collegiate honor society or to participate in one of these programs, it means that you have been recognized for your accomplishments and character. But did you know that the meaning of the invitation also depends on the purpose and stature of the society?
Honors Society Caucus
The purpose of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa as honor societies is to celebrate excellence in academics and integrity of character. They exist because those who founded them believed, as we believe still, that there are achievements worthy of celebration: academic work of extraordinary quality, exemplary leadership and research that advances human knowledge.
Invitations recognize distinguished performance in study, research or leadership, sustained over a period of years. They are typically extended late in the undergraduate career or even after graduation, marking the transition from accomplished work of high merit to further exceptional attainment. Honorifics vary in value, so it is important to find out which ones matter the most. These four societies do not aim to supply a mere credential, belonging adds more than a certificate of your grade point average or listing on your resume. In the wider world, membership in one of these organizations is understood as an honor that is neither cheaply won nor widely bestowed.
Ask your advisors, mentors or faculty members about these societies. Visit their websites and examine their histories, governance and programs. Contact their individual national headquarters if you have any questions. If you have been honored with an invitation, congratulations; you are in excellent company.
Since its inception in 1910, this secret philanthropic student honorary society has assisted each Purdue class in improving the Purdue experience or the university in general. Iron Key members identify a project that will leave Purdue a better place than when they arrived and perform this service secretly, without the need for recognition. Members of Iron Key are selected for their high ideals, outstanding character, ability, prominence, influence and sincere interest in the affairs and students of Purdue.
Mortar Board members are selected for their superior scholarship, dedicated service to the university community and consistently outstanding leadership. Mortar Board members can be found assisting special university leaders, holding a leadership conference, backing intercollegiate athletics and honoring staff members who are especially supportive of students. Membership is highly selective. There is no petition or application process. Rather, Purdue Mortar Board uses a confidential nomination process.
The Old Masters Program is a unique and well-established annual event at Purdue University. It was created in 1950 when student leaders, business representatives, and university officials together defined success as “honesty, personal integrity, and a good philosophy.” This sparked the idea to invite a group of ten successful and outstanding individuals to campus for the purpose of sharing ideas and experiences with the student body, thus comprising the first ten Old Masters. They have since been followed by over 600 eminent personalities helping this tradition at Purdue to strengthen and grow each year.