Tap Day honors new members in secret societies

Notable initiates include Frank Haith and Xavier Billingsley.


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MU’s 85th annual Tap Day ceremony honored students and faculty that exhibited leadership, scholarship and service and desire to bring about positive change on campus during their time at MU.

There are six secret honor societies officially recognized by MU. These societies, QEBH, Mystical Seven, LSV, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa and Rollins Society, “tap” new members each year in a traditional ceremony held for the new members’ friends and family as well as the general public.

The ceremony begins with a processional of the new members who wear hooded robes that cover their faces until their names are announced on stage. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs began the ceremony with a welcome speech.

“Tap Day recognizes students, faculty and staff who put others’ interests before their own,” she said.

Scroggs herself is a member of QEBH, the oldest honorary society at MU.

After Scroggs spoke, Chancellor Brady Deaton provided opening remarks, calling Tap Day “one of the great and many traditions on the MU campus.” Deaton is also a member of QEBH.

The secret honorary societies present their initiates in order of their founding year. QEBH, founded in 1898 by Dr. Royall Hall Switzler, began the ceremony.

QEBH president Joshua Travis unveiled six juniors as the newest members of the society. One sophomore is also initiated each year, who will become the society’s president their senior year. Three “honorary taps,” or professor and faculty initiations, were included as well.

Mystical Seven followed QEBH. This 105-year-old society honors seven men and women every year who consume themselves in volunteer work. Mystical Seven President Tina Casagrand explained that the society is not about recognition by one’s name but rather one’s service to the community. In addition to the seven student initiates, three faculty members received honorary taps.

LSV, MU’s female-focused secret society founded in 1908, presented its initiates to the public in robes of lavender and deep purple. LSV President Chiffontae Ross introduced a small number of women who take it upon themselves to fight for the rights of women and raise awareness about dating, relationship and sexual issues.

“LSV is considered the highest honor bestowed upon women at this university,” Ross said.

LSV is different from other societies in that Tap Day “marks the end of a secret year of service” for these society members, rather than signaling the commencement of honorary membership, Ross said.

The Friars chapter of Mortar Board welcomed 20 new student taps and four honorary taps into its 1,500-member society. Missouri Students Association President Xavier Billingsley was among the initiates, as well as four students who were also tapped into QEBH, Mystical Seven or LSV this year.

Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, was founded in 1914. ODK recognizes student and faculty excellence in scholarship, athletics, government, journalism and the performing arts. Three faculty members and 23 students were tapped, many of whom held positions in the Missouri Alumni Association, Greek institutions, Alternative Spring Break and Homecoming Steering Committee. Former MSA Vice President Emily Moon and men’s basketball coach Frank Haith were revealed as new members.

Last was Rollins Society, founded in 1994 by the Graduate and Professional Council. Rollins Society recognizes graduate and professional students who “have significantly advanced the well-being of self-defined communities beyond the scope of their academic work,” said Rollins Society President Maggie Schlarman. Eight students and two faculty members joined Rollins Society, many of whom were recognized for their international service projects.

Billingsley then delivered his MSA President’s address, thanking all of the new members for their leadership and service to others.

“They won’t just graduate with a diploma, they’ll graduate with a legacy,” Billingsley said.

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