P.C.Pop with Pablo

Mortar Board National Conference — Reflections on the Legacy of the Barbara Cook Chapter at Purdue

In College Students, Leadership, Malavenda, Mortar Board, Pablo Malavenda, Purdue on July 31, 2011 at 7:53 am

Mortar BoardAs the Mortar Board National Conference in Chicago draws to a close this morning, it is amazing what an impact the Barbara Cook Chapter has had not only this weekend but in the great history of this phenomenal society.

There is something about the experience Purdue student leaders have with Mortar Board that causes them to seek out ways to serve and give for a lifetime.  Some notable Boilermakers and accomplishments from this 2011 conference are as follows:

  • Bridget Williams Golden is outgoing national council member and newest national staff member,
  • Vishal Bhandari is the new treasurer/secretary on the national council and foundation,
  • Captain Sally Watlington serves on the national foundation board,
  • Beth Wodicka Geryak is the best section coordinator,
  • our chapter was a finalist for the Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award (a relatively new award for which we were the first ever recipient in 2008),
  • our chapter received the 2011 recipient of the Golden Torch Award, and finally
  • Carolyn Woo was the recipient of the 2011 Alumni Achievement Award.

And then there’s Jane Hamblin.  Jane took over as the executive director roughly two years ago and has transformed Mortar Board nationally.  Jane is a true leader of leaders.  Jane serves every chapter so well regardless of size, history, or magnitude of programs or endowments.  As an advisor and observer of the conference, I was very impressed with this event.  Meaningful, professional, fun, and very well run.  Everyone was given a chance to network, learn, be inspired and have an enjoyable, collegial experience. Everyone felt special. Jane is a humble and talented leader who is undoubtedly going to downplay any praise for her work and immediately give credit to an entire team of staff and volunteers.  Again, a glimpse into the impeccable character of Jane.

Top it all off with having to move the conference from a hotel at O’Hare airport to the Loop in downtown Chicago on the day of the conference because of flooding in the original hotel — makes all of this an even more amazingly incredible feat.  Although the lure of Chicago was present, the students participated in the entire conference.  Rooms were packed with eager and engaged delegates from start to finish.  This is a true testament to the quality of the experience for the delegates, especially the students. During the candlelight banquet while holding a tiny torch for the founding of Purdue’s chapter in 1926, one had to be reminded that this conference almost had to be canceled because of flooding due to severe weather.  The icing on the cake was to hear the reading of the inspirational and profoundly meaningful “Torch” using the more respectful and inclusive version edited years ago by our namesake, Barbara Ivy Cook, Purdue’s dean emerita of students.

I also have to give much praise and credit to our two collegiate delegates, Tyler and Morgan.  Tyler is the new president and Morgan is the new vice president for administration.  They worked very hard at this conference and had a great attitude.  Their approach was that our chapter can excel to an even higher level and that you can learn from any chapter, big or small (even one in Bloomington 🙂 ). They have taken seriously the challenge of making our chapter’s 85th anniversary year epic. They should be commended for making the most of this experience and representing Purdue and the legacy of the Barbara Cook Chapter very well.

I am blessed to have the opportunity to once again, this year, serve this chapter of Mortar Board as a mere advisor. Proud, Honored, Humbled.

Boiler Up!

Purdue University
Year chartered: 1926
Chapter name: Barbara Cook
Website: http://www.purdue.edu/mortarboard
Awards received for the 2010-2011 academic year: Golden Torch Award

Awards received for the 2009-2010 academic year: Excellence in Advising Award (press release)
Awards received for the 2008-2009 academic year: Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award finalist, Golden Torch Award (press release)
Awards received for the 2007-2008 academic year: Golden Torch Award, Project Excellence Award (2), Best Overall Website Award, Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award finalist (press release, photo available)
Awards received for the 2006-2007 academic year: Golden Torch Award, Project Excellence Award, Best Website Award

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