New members of the campus community will observe many traditions, events, and occasions throughout their first semester at the University of Miami, and along with these observances may come many questions. A few such questions are sure to be: What are those funny looking jackets? Why are these people still beating that drum? Why does our campus smell like a campfire?
The answers lie in the spirit of Iron Arrow and the Seminole tradition upon which Iron Arrow is based. A tradition begun just one month after the University of Miami opened 75 years ago, Iron Arrow endures today as the highest honor attainable at the University. The right to wear the vivid handcrafted jackets carries with it the highest standards of leadership, character, scholarship, service, and above all, love of alma mater. Members of this honor’s society are leaders of the University of Miami as well as the local and global communities. Iron Arrow was created by members of the first freshmen class, along with Bowman Foster Ashe, the University’s first President. Last year was not only the 75th Anniversary for the University but also for Iron Arrow. Iron Arrow has survived the trials and tribulations of the University and the nation alike, including such turbulent times as World War II, the fiery protests of the Vietnam War and Hurricane Andrew along with controversial issues such as race and gender discrimination. Iron Arrow and its members have worked diligently to ensure that the University has maintained the progressive pace of our society.
The members of Iron Arrow are selected from students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni of the University of Miami who have contributed significantly to the betterment of the University and the promotion of its goals and ideals. What may seem like routine day-to-day functions of the University to the everyday student are actually often tests of dedication and loyalty to the University performed by various members of Iron Arrow. Whether helping to coordinate freshman orientation, scheduling events for International Week, or managing departmental budgets, members of Iron Arrow play an integral part in these activities, making certain that the University runs efficiently.
Iron Arrow strives to promote the characteristics of humility, character, leadership, scholarship and love of alma mater that the University was founded upon. As the oldest honor society on campus, Iron Arrow is charged with maintaining the traditions of old, while also working to ensure that the new are equally recognized. Like a ribbon work for awareness, the bi-annual beating of the drum during new-member tappings remembers the University’s past while also welcoming the future contributors to the University’s community.