The University’s oldest honorary society opened its arms Friday night, welcoming a new class of distinguished and passionate campus leaders to its ranks.
The 101-year-old Order of the Golden Fleece tapped 30 new members.
Conitras Houston, the “Jason,” or leader, of this year’s active order, said order members looked for people who would perpetuate the group through selfless acts.
“Every year is competitive,” she said. “We want (new members) to have a voice that is inspired by themselves.”
The Golden Fleece was established in 1904 to bring together different branches of student life.
It held its first public induction ceremony last year to commemorate its 100th anniversary. The order, which counts 1,700 among its ranks, recognizes people who have contributed selflessly and tirelessly to the University community.
Members include highly respected contributors such as Frank Porter Graham and William Friday, both of whom have been named “Argonaut of the Half-Century” in the past.
“Argonaut” is the official name for all order members.
This year’s inductees included people from all walks of campus, including student government officials, University administrators and leaders of service organizations and campus publications.
The ceremony started in the Great Hall with only a single spotlight focused on the emblem of the golden fleece on the stage.
Then, the story of Jason — the Greek mythological character whose journey for a golden fleece inspired the order’s name — boomed through speakers.
Dressed in black cloaks and masks, officials ran through the aisles, singling out this year’s inductees.
Houston then read a list of the new members’ accomplishments and positions to the audience, and the order welcomed its new argonauts.
Inductees said they were humbled by the honor.
“The network that is established is one of very distinguished individuals,” said inductee Colin Scott, former Residence Hall Association president.
After the inductees were tapped, an alumni argonaut gave the Frank Porter Graham Lecture on Excellence.
Phillip Clay, chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spoke about his journey through life.
He said excellence can be exhibited through two aspects — voice and leadership.
“Voice is point of view,” he said. “Leadership is a set of skills.”
Houston, a senior, said she is hopeful about the future of the Golden Fleece and is confident that members will continue to make unselfish contributions behind the scenes.
Inductee Walker Rutherfurd, former president of the Interfraternity Council, said his induction doesn’t mark the end to his service to the University — only the beginning.
“I look forward to giving back to Carolina because it’s given me so much.”
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