Sphinx Head

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The original emblem of the Sphinx Head Society.[1][2]

The Sphinx Head Society is the oldest senior honor society at Cornell University. Sphinx Head recognizes Cornell senior men and women who have demonstrated respectable strength of character on top of a dedication to leadership and service at Cornell University.[3] In 1929 The New York Times held that election into Sphinx Head and similar societies constituted "the highest non-scholastic honor within reach of undergraduates."[4]

Founding[edit]

Sphinx Head was founded on October 11, 1890 by a group of ten men from the senior class.[5][6] The Society was founded in order to "create and maintain a stronger feeling" for Cornell University and to promote "a closer and stronger friendship among members of the Senior class."[5] The New York Times referred to Sphinx Head as "a secret senior society of the nature of Skull and Bones," a senior honor society at Yale University of which Andrew Dickson White, Cornell University's cofounder and first president, was a member.[7] White encouraged the formation of a secret society system on the Cornell campus.[8]

Membership[edit]

Sphinx Head, Class of 1899[1]

Each year, Sphinx Head taps fewer than forty men and women of the senior class for membership.[5] Since the Society's founding, membership has been "reserved for the most respected" members of the senior class.[9] The names of newly tapped Sphinx Heads were published in The New York Times through the 1930s, but are now published exclusively in The Cornell Daily Sun.[10][11][12]

Sphinx Head awards honorary membership to Cornell administrators, faculty, staff, and alumni for their "significant personal and/or professional accomplishment, outstanding leadership, distinguished service to the university and interest in and commitment to undergraduate student life and development."[3] Notable honorary members of Sphinx Head include Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata, Atlantic Philanthropies founder Chuck Feeney, and the 12th President of Cornell University, David Skorton, among others.

At Cornell[edit]

Historic Sphinx Head Tomb

Sphinx Head has "retained an aura of mystery throughout its history on campus", holding some "closely guarded secrets and traditions."[13]

Although membership in Sphinx Head is public, the proceedings of the Society remain concealed. Since founding the Society, Sphinx Head members have been responsible for starting many long-standing Cornell University traditions such as the annual Dragon Day celebration, the use of "The Big Red" to describe Cornell athletics, as well as Spring Fest, the precursor to the current Slope Day celebration.[9][14][15]

Members of Sphinx Head have held many prominent positions within Cornell University serving as presidents, provosts, deans, directors of athletics, Cornell Council members, trustees and chairpersons of the board of trustees. More than one-third of the presidents of the Cornell University Alumni Association have been members and twenty percent of the chairpersons of the Cornell University Board of Trustees have been affiliated with the Society.[16][17] Names of alumni can be found on the Cornell campus on Bartels Hall, Samuel C. Johnson School of Business Management, Robert Kane Track, Jansen Noyes Community Center, Jerome H. Holland International Living Center, Robert Purcell Community Center, Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives, Willard Straight Hall and Upson Hall. Numerous members are also profiled in The 100 Most Notable Cornellians.[18]

Notable alumni[edit]

1890–1899
1900–1909
1910–1919
1920–1929
1930–1939
1940–1949
1950–1959
1960–1969
Samuel Bodman, the 11th United States Secretary of Energy
1970–1979
1980–1989
1990–1999
2000–present

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cornell University Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
  2. ^ The Cornellian, 1891.
  3. ^ a b 10 faculty and staff members honored by Sphinx Head society, page 14, Cornell Chronicle, December 7, 2007
  4. ^ 63 Juniors Elected to Cornell Societies, The New York Times, May 19, 1929, p. N3.
  5. ^ a b c "History of Some of the Later Cornell Organizations", Cornell Alumni News, December 18, 1901, p. 89. http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/3166/12/004_12.pdf
  6. ^ "The Sphinx Head: A Senior Society Recently Formed" Cornell Daily Sun, January 13th, 1891, p. 3. http://cdsun.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/newscornell?a=d&srpos=1&cl=search&d=CDS18910113.2.3.4&e=--------20--1----The+Sphinx+Head;+A+Senior+Society+Recently+Formed-all
  7. ^ "Cornell University", The New York Times, May 10, 1891.
  8. ^ The Secret Life of A.D. White | The Cornell Daily Sun
  9. ^ a b Willard Straight Hall
  10. ^ "Cornell Societies Elect", The New York Times, October 19, 1930.
  11. ^ "Cornell Societies Elect New Members", The New York Times, May 13, 1926.
  12. ^ "Cornell Societies Elect", The New York Times, October 14, 1938.
  13. ^ "Secret's Out," Cornell Alumni Magazine, May/June 2003, p. 36.
  14. ^ http://www.slopeday.cornell.edu/2008/history.php
  15. ^ a b Cornell Alumni News, October, 1950
  16. ^ Alumni Association: Larry Gubb, William Kleitz, Elbert Tuttle, Robert White, Walter Nield, Charles Werly, Richard Vanderwarker, Bruce Hackstaff, Joseph Driscoll
  17. ^ Chairman: Becker, Purcell, Noyes; Mieing holds honorary membership.
  18. ^ Altschuler, Glenn C.; Isaac Kramnick; R. Laurence Moore (2003). The 100 Most Notable Cornellians. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-3958-2. 
  19. ^ The Cornellian, 1897, pg. 176.
  20. ^ NYS Museum
  21. ^ The Cornellian, 1899, pg. 183.
  22. ^ The Cornellian, 1905, pg. 261.
  23. ^ American Australian Association | History of the Association
  24. ^ The Cornellian, 1904, pg. 263.
  25. ^ Cornell Athletics - Frequently Asked Questions
  26. ^ "BERRY NEW CORNELL HEAD.; As Graduate Athletic Manager He Will Reorganize Sports". The New York Times. July 9, 1919. 
  27. ^ Berry, Romeyn (1950). Stoneposts in the Sunset. Century House. ASIN B0007EETVA. 
  28. ^ Cornell Alumni News, February, 1959
  29. ^ The Cornellian, 1910, pg. 359.
  30. ^ a b The Cornellian, 1901, pg. 211.
  31. ^ Cornell Athletics - History of Athletics At Cornell University
  32. ^ The Cornellian, 1902, pg. 227.
  33. ^ Cornell Big Red.com Schoellkopf facts/history accessed 10-09-2007
  34. ^ The Cornellian, 1913, pg. 307.
  35. ^ The Cornellian, 1919, pg. 433.
  36. ^ The Cornellian, 1918, pg. 395.
  37. ^ Cornell Alumni News, July, 1946
  38. ^ Wesleyan University: Celebrating 175 Years
  39. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (October 21, 1994). "Walker L. Cisler, 97, Advocate of Nuclear Energy". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  40. ^ Cornell Alumni News, April 15, 1950
  41. ^ The Cornellian, 1928, pg. 179.
  42. ^ Dan Duryea
  43. ^ http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=38811
  44. ^ a b c The Cornellian, 1924, pg. 375.
  45. ^ Cornell Alumni News, December, 1960
  46. ^ Cornell Alumni News, May 1, 1950
  47. ^ The Cornellian, 1926, pg. 341.
  48. ^ The Cornellian, 1927, pg. 327.
  49. ^ Session Timeout - Academy Awards Database - AMPAS
  50. ^ http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=62458
  51. ^ "Cornell Societies Elect.". The New York Times. October 14, 1926. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  52. ^ a b The Cornellian, 1939, pg. 193.
  53. ^ Cornell Alumni News, September 1960.
  54. ^ a b The Cornellian, 1934, pg. 129.
  55. ^ "Robert J. Kane, 81, Ex-Olympic Official And Aide at Cornell", The New York Times, June 1, 1992.
  56. ^ Kane, Robert J. (1992). Good Sports: A History of Cornell Athletics. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Magazine. ISBN 0-9633274-0-2. 
  57. ^ Staff. "Heads New Labor Office", Cornell Alumni News, February 18, 1943, Volume XLV, Number 18. Accessed August 3, 2011. "He was a member of the Willard Straight Hall Board of managers and associate editor of The Cornellian; is a member of Sphinx Head and Beta Sigma Rho."
  58. ^ [1]
  59. ^ Obituaries
  60. ^ a b The Cornellian, 1933, pg. 183.
  61. ^ Tishman Speyer
  62. ^ The Cornellian, 1932, pg. 165.
  63. ^ The Cornellian, 1944, pg. 93.
  64. ^ a b The Cornellian, 1957, pg. 295.
  65. ^ A Message from the President of Colonial Williamsburg
  66. ^ Wesleyan University: Celebrating 175 Years
  67. ^ The Cornellian, 1958, pg. 151.
  68. ^ a b The Cornellian, 1950, pg. 161.
  69. ^ The Cornellian, 1954, pg. 139.
  70. ^ a b The Cornellian, 1955, pg. 195.
  71. ^ Belkin is Entrepreneur of the Year
  72. ^ [2]
  73. ^ "Dave Bliss – 'I Ruined My Career'". The Washington Post. June 22, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  74. ^ The Cornellian, 1960, pg. 105.
  75. ^ The Cornellian, 1969, pg. 94.
  76. ^ Molson Coors - Investor Relations Executive Bios
  77. ^ The Cornellian, 1964, pg. 79.
  78. ^ The Cornellian, 1971, pg. 405.
  79. ^ Time: 2:16:03, Boston Marathon Past Champions
  80. ^ Time: 2:16:54 Honolulu Marathon - Facts and Figures
  81. ^ Heisman.com - Heisman Trophy
  82. ^ http://www.camplejeuneglobe.com/news/top_stories/article_f715bcb2-2400-11e0-8b31-001cc4c002e0.html