88th Tap Day Ceremony unveils new members

QEBH recognized Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin as an honorary member.

Friday marked the 88th Annual Tap Day ceremony, a tradition where MU’s secret societies unveil their newest members to the public.

Six secret societies participated and included QEBH, Mystical Seven, LSV, Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board and the Rollins Society, which honors graduate and professional students. In addition to student members, a society also taps honorary faculty and staff members for their achievements and service.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs opened the ceremony with a speech about the students being initiated, and why their good work deserved recognition.

“The individuals that are tapped for these organizations are tapped for their commitment to the ideals and principles that MU stands for as an institution of higher learning: the belief in the soundness of rational processes, responsible leadership, distinguished service to the community at large,” she said.

Before the ceremony, the soon-to-be tapped members waited anxiously to be revealed with large hoods concealing their faces.

“It is a big honor to be chosen to be in any of these societies,” an anonymous member said. “I am really nervous, but also excited to see everyone’s reactions. I’ve been waiting for a long time to share this with my family and friends.”

New members were told at various times, some about a month before the initiation, but for the public, family and friends, Tap Day was veiled in mystery. Senior Michael Loida, a member of Mortar Board, said he enjoys the Tap Day tradition of secrecy.

“The secrecy is kind of a fun, big tradition, and it’s cool that we’ve been able to have this tradition for so long,” Loida said. “It’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Loida was inducted last year so he was helping reveal members and being supportive as he passed on the torch.

“It’s really great for these people to be honored, because they are people who never expect to be honored for what they do,” Loida said.

Tim Watkins, the father of QEBH’s newly tapped member Allison Watkins, said he maintained his part of the Tap Day secret.

“So we were notified by Allison a few weeks (ago) and were told to keep it a secret,” Watkins said. “The parents were also asked to write a letter and basically tell how proud we were and that was pretty neat. (Allison) was unaware of that too, and I assume she received it.”

Similar to other families of the tapped members, Watkins could not be more proud of his daughter and said she has come a long way.

“We are incredibly proud of her and incredibly proud of her future,” Watkins said. “As a tiger alumni, myself and her mom, we couldn’t be prouder of her.”

Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin also spoke during the ceremony, starting with an “M-I-Z” which was followed by the crowd shouting back “Z-O-U.” Then, he addressed the new members and said “this is a special day for you and for Mizzou.”

“I am very happy to see the service commitment our student body has here at Mizzou,” Loftin said. “It speaks well of you and well of the future.”

Loftin was also revealed as an honorary member of QEBH this year.

Speaker Kelsey Haberberger, of QEBH, said the organization was “proud to tap the 22nd Chancellor of the University of Missouri.”

“(Loftin) has made an immediate impact since his arrival on campus,” Haberberger said. “He has enhanced our campus’ climate with his presence and his ability to invest in getting to know students on a personal level."

Loftin was also recognized for his “signature clothing,” “highly sought out” selfies and his “unmatched” leadership qualities.

“He embodies each of the core values at Mizzou, inspiring and encouraging all students, faculty and staff to do the same,” Haberberger said.

To end the ceremony, Scroggs reiterated what a member of the secret societies stands for and emphasized key words in which they can keep in mind throughout their lives

“So we’ve heard words like leadership, service, commitment, advocacy, action,” Scroggs said. “We’ve also heard words like humility, desire, passion. That’s what describes these men and women that have been inducted into these societies.”

Missouri Students Association President Payton Head encouraged and challenged the students being tapped before closing with the Missouri Alma Mater, “Old Missouri.”

“So, your leadership means more than a secret meeting place, a statue or a special pin,” Head said. “Leadership means the opportunity to make this campus a home for everyone, a place where every student has reason to feel welcome, has hope to stand on this stage.”

Head added that to achieve this goal the new members of the societies would be required to “resist complacency and respect experience” that are not their own.

“But I believe in your good faith and I believe in your good works,” Head said. “I believe in your ability to dig up foundations of resentment and fear and build for us a better Mizzou.”

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