This year I am serving as President of the USC Chapter of Mortar Board. Mortar Board is a organization that recognizes scholarship, leadership, and service on campus. Check out my blog post about Mortar Board from a few weeks ago.

Each semester, Mortar Board recognizes a distinguished member of the USC faculty or staff for their achievement and embodiment of the pillars of Mortar Board. This recognition comes in the form of a surprise “tapping” in their classroom or office. Tapping is an old tradition in Mortar Board. I remember sitting in my Air Pollution Control class last semester and hearing the fight song outside the door as member of Mortar Board walked in to tap me into Mortar Board. It’s a great tradition and always a fun surprise!

Yesterday morning we stood outside Professor Wertman’s classroom in black graduation robes waiting to get the go ahead from one of our Mortar Board members in the class. Once we received the go ahead, we turned on the boombox, which played the USC fight song, and walked into the classroom to surprise Professor Wertman. And surprised he was!

It took him a bit of time to realize what was going on. Once he realized what was happening, he sat down and listened as we read off a list of his accomplishments, which included founding a non-profit to help the homeless change their lives through employment, being the Founding Director of the Society and Business Lab, and being a distinguished professor of non-profit management and social entrepreneurship at USC. Professor Wertman seemed quite pleased and honored to be tapped as an honorary member of Mortar Board.

Professor Adlai Wertman listening to his tapping speech

We even talked to the Daily Trojan and got them to do a feature on Professor Wertman and his tapping. We thought the photographer hadn’t shown up until we saw him sitting among the student in the classroom snapping photos as we walked in. He had snuck into the classroom beforehand and posed as a student in the class to discretely take photos! The next day, the tapping was featured on the front page of the Daily Trojan!

Mortar Board has been quite busy this semester planning tappings of our sophomore and junior scholarship recipients, our last lecture series planned for early next semester, and socializing of course!

Mortar Board social at Bacaro LA!

Until next time,