Black Pyramid Society hosts induction to formally welcome cohort of new members

By Indira Rahman || Staff Writer

The Black Pyramid Society (BPS) hosted its annual induction ceremony last Friday, March 6. Members of the organization dedicate themselves to knowledge, leadership, and service, the organization’s three foundational pillars, in fulfillment of the organization’s goal: striving to better both Lancaster and the F&M community through academia, on and off campus leadership, and community service.

Founded as a secret society in 1921 by C.B. Clinard, R. F. Wagner, and Howard B. Albright, BPS is one of the college’s oldest and most prestigious on-campus organizations. It became a recognized chapter of the larger national Blue Key Honor Society in 1936 and went onto become the most powerful and influential student-run organization on campus, despite its secretive nature. With the outbreak of WWII, F&M lost many of its students, causing Richard ‘Dick’ Winters, then-president of BPS, to disband the organization, which had rapidly shrunk during 1942 and 1943. It would take almost four years to reorganize Blue Key, and in 1949, the newly revived organization ended affiliation with Blue Key and reverted back to Black Pyramid Society.

Today, BPS continues to be active on campus. During
Homecoming, it organizes a silent auction on Hartman Green, with proceeds going to the First of Many Campaign, also known as the Senior Class 
Campaign, and a local philanthropy. This year, the organization raised $2,026.42, with half going to the First of Many Campaign and the other half going to the Mix at Arbor Place.

“Homecoming this year was a great success,” said Lindsay Stern ’15, president of BPS. “We’ve had returning alumni tell us that BPS was one of the most proudest accomplishments of their college career. We connected well with Dr. Jack Shilling ’89, who has helped us tremendously along the way. Our alumni network acts a huge support for graduating seniors.”

This year also saw the organization host its first annual Black Pyramid Alumni Reunion, where members ranging from 75 years old to the most recent graduates came back to reunite. This year, BPS will bring a TedxTalk event to campus for the second year in a row. The organization’s final event of the year is the Last Lecture Series, a commencement style speech for seniors where they vote on which professor they want to hear.

Stern also said that the organization has contact info of alumni ranging back to 1937 and was collectively working to improve its alumni network – in the future, for example, each cohort will be assigned their own informal alumni mentor.

BPS is small and selective, with each cohort consisting of 15-20 students. Juniors who meet a certain GPA threshold are encouraged to apply through a blind application process, where student ID numbers replace an applicant’s name to eliminate bias, and each member of BPS then reads the applications before making a decision.

“We want to correct the misconception that BPS is simply an academic club,” Stern said. “Every member of BPS exceeds academically, but we also pay particular attention to the applicant’s leadership role on campus, their willingness to take responsibility and be
involved.”

Dan Porterfield, president of the College, spoke at the induction ceremony for the cohort of 2016, as did Stern and Steven Viera ’16, president of the cohort of the Class of 2016.

First-year Indira Rahman is a staff writer. Her email is irahman@fandm.edu.

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