Iron Arrow: preserving UM history, traditions

The University of Miami is steeped in history and traditions. The oldest and most sacred of these traditions is Iron Arrow Honor Society, the highest honor attained at UM.

Iron Arrow was established as a top honor society for men one month after the University opened its doors in 1926. Officially founded by nine students, the idea for a “tap society” based on Indian traditions was that of UM’s first president, Bowman Foster Ashe. The Tribe was charged with not only creating the traditions of the new University, but also preserving its history and traditions.

In 1985, the society voted to allow women. Today, Iron Arrow is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon any individual at UM. Members are chosen based on five criteria: love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship and humility.

The society “taps” members twice a year, during Homecoming and once in the Spring semester.

One of the unique aspects of the society is its relationship with the Seminole Indian Nation. The society was created to recognize the unique and lasting contributions that this group of Native Americans made to our community and University. Iron Arrow is an official clan of the Seminole Indian nation. Members wear traditional Seminole jackets, woven by Seminole women using small pieces of cloth.

Jason Starr contributed to this article.