Boston University’s Scarlet Key was founded in 1938 as an activities honor society with new members voted in annually (or, “tapped”) by existing ones. The organization held a formal initiation ceremony each spring and fall and also sponsored a semiformal dance at the University President’s home. Before the early 1970s, Scarlet Key members often served as hosts for University events, much like President’s Hosts do today.
Although no new Scarlet Key members were inducted from 1972 to 1978, in 1979 the General Alumni Association (now the Boston University Alumni Association) revived Scarlet Key as an honor awarded to outstanding seniors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in student activities and organizations; service to their School or College; and scholarship.
As Scarlet Key continues to expand, many of its more than 1,500 alumni have assumed leadership positions at the University. Ten members of the current Board of Trustees are Scarlet Key recipients, as are three members of the Executive Committee of the Boston University Association and numerous faculty members, including the dean of the School of Management. Honorary recipients include Presidents emeriti John Silber and Aram Chobanian. Most recently, both President Robert Brown and Executive Vice President Joseph Mercurio were tapped to become members of the Honorary Scarlet Key Society.
This high honor presented by the Dean of Students is in keeping with our continuing effort to recognize those who have made notable contributions to Boston University through their distinguished accomplishments.