Chapters are encouraged to make the induction of members a significant occasion in the academic life of the school. The presence of the heads of various school constituencies, such as the Alumni Association, the Parents Club and the Board of Trustees, lend prestige to the ceremony. The presence of parents and friends of the initiates as well as upper level students can provide an audience. You may also consider an academic procession of the faculty members as well as any current student members. Many chapters find the provision for a reception after the ceremony an excellent opportunity for faculty, student members and families to congratulate the initiates in a congenial setting. To induct Student Members into a Chapter, the officers may follow the model below, or they are welcome to develop their own. However, the ceremony should include the elements below, which appear in Italics.
An invocation, if appropriate at the particular school, can be rendered. The Head of School or Principal delivers greetings and opening remarks. Distinguished guests are introduced.
The Chapter President invites the Student Members to come forward. The Student Members stand before the President and Secretary while the Secretary explains the background and purpose of the Society, its ideals, and its motto. Example: The object of the Cum Laude Society is to promote learning and sound scholarship in secondary schools. The Society was founded in 1906 to recognize scholastic achievement of seniors in secondary schools. Chapters may be established in public schools and incorporated secondary schools that are not conducted for financial gain.
The constitution of the Society and that of the Chapter, if there is one, may be read in whole or in part.
The President of the Society reads the following charge: The distinguished record you have made at (name of school) has won for you membership in the Cum Laude Society. This Society is a fellowship of scholars whose purpose is to recognize excellence in academic work. As you pursue your education, it is our hope that you will accept the honor of membership in this Society as a responsibility to make some contribution to the on-going search for greater understanding of the world in which we live.
The Secretary reads: The motto of the Society is Areté, Diké, Timé - Excellence, Justice, Honor. Areté includes the concept of excellence in the moral sense and is not limited to the ideal of superiority and scholarship, nor does it involve the endeavor of competing primarily for academic goals. Diké includes the concept of what is suitable and appropriate, as well as just. Timé includes the concept of dignity and truth, as well as honor.
The President then reads: In testimony of your admission to the Cum Laude Society, by the authority of the Society duly granted, I now present to you these certificates of membership.
As the Secretary reads the names, the individual Student Members come forward to receive the certificate of membership from the President and the Society pin from the Secretary as authorized by the constitution of the Society. If both seniors and juniors are being initiated, it is suggested that seniors be recognized first, followed by the juniors. The President can then introduce Student Members who have been previously initiated.
The President may address the Student Members in his or her own words, instead of reading the set form of the above words. If it is deemed helpful, the initiation may be preceded or followed by an appropriate address, but this address should not take the place of the charge of the President. The Head of School or Superintendent/Principal (headmaster/headmistress) may introduce a speaker or principal and the same administrator also may close the ceremony. A benediction may also be offered.
Many schools hold a special Cum Laude assembly, or banquet, to which are invited a guest speaker, newly elected students and their parents, faculty and honorary members. Various portions of the above ceremony are used.
Since many schools elect students to membership just before graduation, the Cum Laude initiation is made a part of that occasion. Often the names of electees are so indicated in the printed program. In some schools where caps and gowns are worn for graduation, the Cum Laude students wear gold-colored caps instead of the usual white or black caps, or wear a gold arm band to identify them as Cum Laude members. Even if the Cum Laude initiation is a separate ceremony, Cum Laude Student Members can be recognized at graduation.