Oldest honor society continue traditions
Jasons tap 37 members for 97th year of organization
The men who have been walking around campus this week wearing black bowler hats, yellow striped ties and carrying canes are not trying to bring back old fashion statements.
They are newly selected members of the Jasons, an all-male unofficial honor society.
The Jasons Honor Society inducted its new members this week. Their week began Monday afternoon on the Mound with tapping, a ceremony in which the old members pass on their hats, ties and canes to the new members.
Harris Hagood, president of the 96th class, said the Jasons "tapped in" 37 new members who were selected from the junior class.
He said the tapping on Monday was the society's 97th tapping.
To celebrate, Hagood said the Jasons hosted an activity nearly every night this week. The only night they did not have anything planned was Tuesday because of SGA inaugurations, he said.
Hagood said Monday night the society held a dinner for the graduating Jasons, then Wednesday night was the red rose ceremony when the new Jasons formally invited their dates to Thursday night's dinner.
Hagood said Thursday night was the new members' black tie dinner, and on Friday, the Jasons will host a lunch for parents.
Milton Nettles, a member of Jasons who is graduating in May with a degree in chemical and biological engineering, said all the Jasons are rising seniors and serve as members their entire senior year.
"A Jason only serves as a member for one year but is a Jason for life," Nettles said.
Nettles said most of the Jasons are fraternity members, but not all of them are.
"Jasons are the highest caliber of men at the university," Nettles said.
Nettles, who is black and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, said black men are not usually members of the Jasons Honor Society, though a few are.
Hagood said the Jasons Honor Society, the oldest society on campus, was founded in 1914.
In 1933, UA officials allowed the Jasons to use the Little Round House next to Gorgas Library as the organization’s home. The structure was converted into a memorial for all honor societies in 1990, but is still known as the “Jasons Shrine,” according to the UA Web site.
Nettles said the University does not officially recognize the Jasons because the society is a group with all male members. Nettles said women at the university have a similar group, The XXXI, which they founded because they were not allowed to join the Jasons and had no honor society that were only women.