The Maia chapter of the Mortar Board National College Honor Society at the University of New Mexico received a Gold Torch Award at the 2015 Mortar Board National Conference recently.

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service.

This year, 36 college chapters earned the Gold Torch Award. To receive the award, students must excel in all chapter operations promoting scholarship and leadership qualities as well as meaningful service to their institution.

Chapter Advisor Andrea Hart explained that earning the Gold Torch award means that the chapter goes above and beyond the regular requirements.

“Their members are selected from the most involved and accomplished students on campus and so they truly are the best of the best. These students achieve all of these things while applying to medical school, law school, and graduate programs around the nation,” said Hart.

Hart went on to explain that last year’s student leaders, President Jenna Hall and Vice President Shannon Groll, even created a new event called “Cookies and Tea with MB” which invited the top 10 percent of the sophomore class to a reception with Dean Kate Krause.

Mortar Board’s Executive Director Jane Hamblin said, “Gold Torch chapters add considerably to Mortar Board’s standing. We are proud that they are providing high-impact educational programs for their campus communities. That’s what Mortar Board is all about.”

This year’s President, Harold Chang, and Vice President, Elena Vigil, accepted the award earlier last month in Phoenix.

More than a quarter of a million members have been initiated at 231 chartered chapters across the nation since the Society’s founding in 1918.