The honors — a Golden Torch Award and a Project of Excellence Award for the student chapter and an Excellence in Advising Award for Judith Lewis Logue, the USD chapter’s advisor since its 2000 inception — concluded another successful year.
Mortar Board is an honor society for high-achieving college seniors. Students must be in the top 35 percent of their class and meet high standards for service and leadership activities. Students participate in service programs, social events, host an annual USD faculty appreciation dinner and raise funds for the STRIVE scholarship, which is given to college-bound seniors from Linda Vista’s Kearny High School who excel in scholarship, leadership and service.
“Mortar Board members are students who have the courage to take on responsibility and have the ability to get things done,” Logue said.
This year’s success further cemented a decision made by former USD President Alice B. Hayes to provide more opportunities for USD students to be recognized nationally for their efforts. Hayes, who lives in Chicago, was delighted to join USD’s Mortar Board students at the conference for this year’s awards banquet.
“It was truly a pleasure to share in this happy event,” said Hayes, who served as USD’s second president from 1995 to 2003. “This was an especially important gathering because our chapter and our chapter’s director were receiving well-deserved national recognition. Our students presented themselves so well. They showed their intelligence, enthusiasm and delight and it was easy to see why our chapter was selected for recognition.”
All awards received at the conference recognized the 2011-12 USD Mortar Board members, led by former president Alex Tubbs ’12. The current president, Nicholas Perez, a mechanical engineering major and NROTC (Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps) student, accepted the awards for USD. Logue, who serves as director of USD’s Office of Financial Aid, was present to receive her award (pictured, far left with Hayes and Perez).
While USD’s Mortar Board chapter has been a frequent national winner — in 2006 it won the Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award, the highest possible Mortar Board honor given for chapter achievement —Hayes’ presence at the event gave students some perspective on how their chapter was formed on campus.
“It was a marvelous time,” Hayes said. “The students worked so hard on the application and I felt that our student body had reached a point of excellence which should be recognized. During those years we made a number of efforts to position our students for national recognition.”
Hayes pointed to USD gaining national membership in Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif as a few examples during her presidency.
“This national recognition meant that our graduates would be recognized outside the university for their academic quality and their achievements,” she said. “The frosting on the cake was the recognition our chapter received from the national Mortar Board organization, which shows that our students are not only the best, they are the best of the best.”
— Ryan T. Blystone
Photo provided by Judith Lewis Logue