92nd Annual Tap Day ceremony celebrates new members, highlights community issues

Professor George P. Smith was inducted into QEBH as an honor tap.
Sarah Wingbermuehle getting tapped to QEBH at the 92nd Annual Tap Day ceremony on April 19, 2019, at Jesse Auditorium. Photo by Photographer Marco Storel

Hundreds of students, faculty and families gathered in the Jesse Auditorium Friday, April 19 for the 92nd Annual Tap Day ceremony to discover which friends, colleagues and loved ones had been tapped to join one of the six secret societies on campus: QEBH, Mystical Seven, LSV, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa and Rollins Society.

The event honored the achievements of the inductees, but also reflected on the history of the societies and celebrated the future.

“Together we share so many rich values and traditions, but few traditions have such an immense impact on an institution in the world as these honorary societies,” Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said in his opening remarks. “With each passing year and each new cohort, they strengthen our founding mission: our commitment to making a transformational impact on communities across the globe.”

In addition to the induction of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members were honored, including recent Nobel laureate George Smith, who was inducted into QEBH but was unable to attend due to travel. Rollins Society also paid tribute to former member Jordan Hoyt, who passed earlier this year.

Multiple societies revealed their new members while using the stage to bring awareness to and acknowledge systemic issues at Mizzou and in the overall country.

Before the presentation of the inductees, Vice President of LSV Randi Anderlik spoke in tribute to the Niúachi people, whose ancestral lands make up much of the state of Missouri, entreating the audience to recognize the legacy of colonization in America and its impact on indigenous people.

“Every community owes its existence and vitality to generations from around the world who contributed their hopes and dreams and energy to making the history that led to this moment,” Anderlik said in her remarks. “Truth and acknowledgment are critical to building mutual respect and connection across all barriers of heritage and difference. We begin this effort to acknowledge what has been buried by honoring the truth.”

Mystical Seven also spread a message calling for an increase in the wages of MU employees.

“Columbia residents put their trust in a flagship institution to support this community,” Mystical Seven President Jacob Congo Ruboneka said in his remarks. “Instead, more than 600 full-time service and maintenance staff make less than $15 an hour.”

Wearing matching shirts with the word “Equity” emblazoned in bold letters, the society underscored its call for higher pay specifically for those in the MU Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity.

“Secondly, there are principles in place, but coordinators for the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, the LGBTQ Center, Multicultural Center, Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center and Women’s Center receive an hourly wage that does not accurately reflect the work, energy or impact that their actions have,” Ruboneka said in his remarks. “I would like to ask Mizzou where is the respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence in that?”

Vice Provost Jim Spain addressed the concerns expressed by the students, emphasizing the importance of their work in improving the campus.

“It’s no surprise that a tradition that is this rich, this powerful, this deep is being celebrated today for the 92nd year,” Spain said in closing the ceremony. “This is what truly makes this place special. I also recognize that we don’t get it right, but we celebrate in many, many ways the many, many people that are contributing to getting it right. This is why Tap Day is such a very, very special day for the University of Missouri.”

Newly inducted members of the societies expressed anticipation in serving the MU community.

“We’re going to get together and really think about what service we want to go into and what we want to do for the community here,” Mystical Seven inductee Dynasty Avila said. “Everything is still new, but going forward we’re just trying to be as intentional as possible, trying to make sure that we stand up with the reputation and the change that the Mystical Seven has put in previously.”

Edited by Laura Evans | levans@themaneater.com

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