Twenty-two new inductees were tapped into the Iron Arrow Society last week. The inductees’ foreheads were marked with three lines of green, orange and white paint – the colors of UM.
Though the selection and initiation process is kept secret as one of Iron Arrow’s longstanding traditions, members are selected based on their embodiment of five main qualities: love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship and humility.
Junior Luis Gonzalez was one of the 22 selected this semester.
Gonzalez said he still can’t “wrap his head around” his admittance into the prestigious organization.
“I go day-in and day-out just trying to be the best version of myself that I possibly can be,” said Gonzalez, a broadcast journalism major. “So to be tapped into the Iron Arrow, I’m just so honored, blessed and thankful for the tribe, my friends and fellow Canes.”
The Iron Arrow Society is the most exclusive organization at the University of Miami. Since Iron Arrow’s inception in 1926, less than 2 percent of all university members have been admitted into the tribe.
Accomplished students, faculty, staff, alumni, administration and trustees are all eligible to be considered for entry into the prestigious organization.
Senior Adrian Nuñez is the society’s Son-of-Chief, or second-in-command. Nuñez, who is also UM Student Government president, said each member tapped into the tribe has impacted the university in a positive way.
“Our members are known to become active and well-regarded members of our community,” said Nuñez, a management and political science double major. “From federal judges, world-renowned doctors, to famous musicians. They bring great acclaim to the University of Miami, which strengthens our image among other institutions in the country.”
As classes began for the first time at UM 92 years ago, nine students founded Iron Arrow with the help of the university’s first president, Bowman Foster Ashe. They had one goal: to elevate leaders who contributed to the university’s growth and legacy.
However, the founding members wanted their organization to stand out among a slew of other honor societies that had already been established at other universities across the nation.
So the founding members reached out to the Seminole tribe of Florida.
The members wanted “something that was deeply representative of the locale and its people,” Nuñez said.
They worked together to propose modeling the value and traditions of the Iron Arrow Society after the Seminole tribe.
Then-Seminole Chief Tony Tommie embraced the idea, Nuñez said.
Glad that an educational institution was celebrating his people’s culture, Tommie helped the society’s founders understand and adapt Native American traditions into the values and customs that members still honor today, including the iconic tribal jackets.
The Florida Miccosukee Tribe, which became independent of the Seminoles in 1965, gave jackets to the nine founding members of Iron Arrow and made the society an official clan of the Seminole nation. Tommie granted the nine founding members full membership into the Miccosukee tribe.
To this day, Iron Arrow maintains its ties to the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida by consulting its Miccosukee adviser, Roy Cypress.
Tradition is a pillar of the Iron Arrow Society, and its unique customs have allowed it to maintain a prominent role on and off campus throughout UM’s history.
“To tell the story of Iron Arrow is to tell the story of the University of Miami,” Nuñez said. “So I would say the Iron Arrow Honor Society is a living, breathing and evolving University of Miami history.”
Other inductees in spring 2018 class include Alejandro Arboleda, Joy Beverly, Hunter Carpenter, Brianna Hernandez, Sharod Hinton, Alina Hudak, Stephanie Ioannou, Nicholas Katz, Miriam Lipsky, Sydney Matsumoto, Felipe Parodi, Carrie Penabad, Kristine Reynardus, Jill Richardson, Kellie Scanlon, Detra Shaw-Wilder, Daniel Smith, Humberto Speziani, Christopher Stowell, Marissa Vonesh and Jonathan West.
Correction, 7:24 p.m., April 1, 2018: This article previously stated that all Iron Arrow members are granted full membership into the Miccosukee tribe. Only the nine founding members of the organization were adopted into the tribe. The article has been updated to reflect this information.