“Oh my God! What’s happening?” said recent alumnus Rory Lincoln, who was invited to become a member of the Iron Arrow Honor Society last semester.
Lincoln was originally told he needed to be at the School of Communication to give a tour.
Instead, he was surrounded by a group of people wearing the brightly colored Seminole jackets characteristic of Iron Arrow members.
An arrow was then horizontally thrust at his chest, and he was “inked” with orange, white and green paint across his forehead.
“It was probably one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever been through,” Lincoln said. “I didn’t realize that there was no student and no tour, and I kept asking to be let go because I thought I was being pranked.
“No one answered because [we are] supposed to be silent, which I eventually caught on to.”
Iron Arrow “tappings” occur once every semester and are carried out in manners often similar to Lincoln’s story.
Any member of the UM community can be tapped, from students and faculty, to alumni and administrators.
It is the highest honor achievable at UM.
Third-year law student Elena Doyle was tapped as an undergraduate and is the society’s former chief.
Doyle sees membership in Iron Arrow as being part of a long-standing tradition of great leaders at UM.
“To be an Iron Arrow member is to be recognized for having all five of the characteristics [we value- scholarship, leadership, humility, character and love of alma mater,” Doyle said.
Society Chief Jodie Barkin, a medical student, acknowledges tradition as one of the most identifiable attributes of being an Iron Arrow member.
“Being an Iron Arrow member has been a tradition of greatness at the university since it began in 1926,” Barkin said.
This spring semester, 35 new Iron Arrow members were tapped.
After joining Iron Arrow, members agree to establish an everlasting bond with the university that lives on long past their graduations, retirements or relocations.
“Members of Iron Arrow participate in many acts of service to give back to the community, a tradition UM has long been known for,” Barkin said.
Colleen Dourney may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.