Sphinx Senior Society
The Sphinx Senior Society is the oldest honor and most prestigious society at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The organization, founded in 1900, is self-perpetuating and consists of a maximum of 30 members selected annually. Its members are a diverse and varied group, coming from all areas of achievement, community, activities, and backgrounds. However each member is chosen because of the singular achievements of his or her committed leadership to the university, its community and the public.
The undergraduate society ranges from 25-30 members per class depending on each class's preference. Members, officially called "Sphinges," represent outstanding individuals that have served the university in some form or manner and are selected based on their achievement, character, involvement, leadership, and vision. This membership perpetuates through "tapping" (a common society term meaning invite) every spring where current members personally nominate deserving juniors to attend a smoker. This informal smoker provides an opportunity for the taps to pick up an application as well as for the current members to meet and screen nominees before seniors go through the selection process.
Selected notable members
- Mitchell J. Blutt - Executive Partner, J.P. Morgan Chase - 1978
- Bill Carr - Winner of two gold medals at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics - 1933
- Richard Clarke - Author, National Counter-Terrorism Director under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush - 1972
- William T. Coleman, Jr. - United States Secretary of Transportation, 1975-77, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom - 1925
- Jeffrey Goldberg - Award winning journalist. Writer for the Atlantic and The New Yorker - 1987
- Jon Huntsman, Sr. - Billionaire, founder of the Huntsman Corporation - 1959
- John B. Kelly, Jr. - accomplished oarsman, four-time Olympian, and Olympic medal winner and President of the United States Olympic Committee; brother of famous actress Grace Kelly; Kelly Drive in Philadelphia is named for him - 1950
- John Legend/John Stephens - famous American soul singer, songwriter, and pianist - 2000
- Donald Lippincott - Winner of a silver and a bronze medal at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics - 1915
- John Edgar Wideman - American writer, Rhodes Scholar, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and two-time winner of the International PEN/Faulkner Award; currently professor at Brown University - 1963