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The cryptic history of Konosioni Cloaked in a veil of mystery, the history of Colgate’s senior honor society is rooted in two societies sounding like something out of a Harry Potter novel. Little is known about either Skull and Scroll or Gorgon’s Head, but each was meant to acknowledge men of great character. Skull and Scroll, founded in 1908: • The skull represents death and human mortality; the scroll, education and ritual. • Members donned white hats with a black skull and scroll sewed on the front. • Several founding members are recognizable Colgate names: Ellery Channing Huntington, Melbourne Stuart Read, and Harold Orville Whitnall. Gorgon’s Head, formed in 1912:

• The Greek mythological monster symbolizes both

life and death. According to legend, the blood from the Gorgon’s head can either resurrect the dead or act as an instantaneous poison. • Members sported black hats embroidered with yellow Gorgon’s head seals. • Membership was based on distinguished service, achievement, and character. The two societies competed as rivals until a 1934 proposal to end the divisiveness the rivalry caused on campus. Representatives from each worked together to draft a constitution and settle the details, choosing a symbolic name for the new organization. Meaning “House of Council,” a reference to the longhouses of the Six Nations of the Iroquois, the name Konosioni reflects a unified community and the gathering of leaders. Konosioni was meant to act as a true honor society, removed from campus politics and favoritism. The first initiation ceremony was held at the Taylor Lake peninsula (which continues today). Members were tasked with upholding traditions, including enforcement of student conduct “rules” such as forcing freshmen to wear green beanies or risk being paddled, which eventually fell out of favor with the changing times. In the early 1970s, Konosioni’s departing president, David Michonski ’73, urged the community to refocus the group onto service and student leadership enacting real change on campus. Today, the society is composed of 13 men and 13 women, and the inductees are informed of the former societies’ symbolism. The tradition of community building has continued, marked by events including first-year arrival day and field day; the annual charity auction; leading the beloved torchlight procession at commencement; and a new event, the Welcome Back Block Party in the Village Green (pictured right). — Marilyn Hernandez-Stopp ’14

13 Page 13 is the showplace

for Colgate tradition, history, and school spirit.

Spring Scene 2013  

The Scene is published by ColgateUniversity four times a year — in autumn,winter, spring, and summer. The Sceneis circulated without charge...

Spring Scene 2013  

The Scene is published by ColgateUniversity four times a year — in autumn,winter, spring, and summer. The Sceneis circulated without charge...