Blue Key Honor Society, founded November 27, 1924, is a premier honor society that recognizes college students at senior institutions of higher education for balanced and all-around excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Blue Key Honor Society bases its eligibility for membership on all-around leadership and integrity in student life, high scholastic achievement, and service to others.
Blue Key Honor Society is unique in that it recognizes upper-classmen at colleges and universities throughout the nation for an exemplary and balanced record of achievement inside and outside the classroom.
Blue Key Honor Society celebrates and honors the many accomplishments of its membership. The special qualities of Blue Key members as they model service to others include intellectual curiosity with a desire to acquire knowledge, modeling a significant pattern of leadership which contributes to the institution’s student and campus life, service to the community and citizenship, expressing humility through moral character and integrity, and a strong sense of faith in word and deed.
Blue Key Founder
Blue Key had its beginnings at the University of Florida in 1924. Dr. A. A. Murphree, President of the University, called on Major B.C. Riley, a member of the staff to correlate and coordinate all the plans for the entertainment of guests who would be on campus for the joint Dad’s Day and Homecoming. Every campus organization was making plans to entertain the visitors and it looked as though confusion would result. Major Riley selected twenty-five outstanding student leaders who, by election or attainment, held places of prominence and confidence in the student body. These men were called together and each was assigned the duty to look after some particular phase of the Dad’s Day – Homecoming program. Because of the great success of this attempt, the twenty-five students requested Major Riley to meet with them regularly to discuss other ways of improving student life. Almost immediately a noticeable increase of interest on campus in all worthwhile student activities became evident. Since all of the college men were active on campus, the only possible time for meeting was at lunch.
Membership in the group, then known as Blue Key National Honor Fraternity, was coveted because the organization selected members with brains and ability to think straight, to act only after due deliberation, and to pursue a program of service to the betterment of the university. In 2003, the name was officially changed to Blue Key Honor Society. The progress and results obtained by the initial group of Blue Key was amazing, and before long there arose an exchange of ideas with similar groups on other campuses. No similar working organization could be found; therefore, Major Riley passed his idea along, wholly with the intention of cooperating with other schools. An honor society with a service slogan immediately appealed to students in other colleges and in 1925 began the phenomenal growth of Blue Key. Other schools adopted the name, the constitution, the pledge, and the insignia, all which were produced by Major Riley. Blue Key, now a close federation of a large number of chapters, found that in order to enforce uniform standards and procedure it was necessary to organize a more closely knit fraternity. To accomplish this, a convention was held in Chicago in December 1934. Since this convention, Blue Key has gained much strength and prestige.
Top 10 Oldest Blue Key Chapters
Emory and Henry College – 25B – 5/27/1925
University of Georgia – 26B – 2/26/1926
Colorado School of Mines – 26C – 3/9/1926
Truman State University – 26F – 4/7/1926
University of Nevada, Reno – 26G – 4/24/1926
North Dakota State University – 27G – 5/3/1927
Nebraska Wesleyan University – 27H – 5/25/1927
Midland University – 27J – 5/28/1927
Clemson University – 32B – 3/21/1932
University of Louisiana, Lafayette – 32D – 5/19/1932
Top 10 Chapters by Total Number of Registered Members (updated Fall 2019)
University of Georgia – 2,787
Michigan Tech University – 1,928
Missouri University S&T – 1,903
Clemson University – 1,900
Lander University – 1,779
North Dakota State University – 1,773
Colorado School of Mines – 1,706
Oklahoma State University – 1,612
Truman State University – 1,530
Rose Hulman Institute of Technology – 1,501