College Taps Newest Secret Society Classes


Spring 2017 gray hat tapping ceremony. Photo courtesy of Carl Socolow ’77.

Prior members of Dickinson’s secret societies have tapped the newest members of their associations for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Each year the newest member classes are tapped based on academic accomplishment and academic leadership. These societies, also known as “hat societies,” include Raven’s Claw, The Order of Scroll and Key, Wheel and Chain, and Queer Caps. 

Raven’s Claw is the college’s oldest men’s honorary hat society, founded in 1896. Also referred to as the “white hats,” the group inducts seven new members each year. 

Founded in 2001, the Order of the Scroll and Key was started “with a mission of diversity and dedication to philanthropy and volunteerism in the Dickinson and Carlisle communities,” according to the college’s website.

The Wheel and Chain women’s society was founded in 1924 and inducts 10 new members each year. The Queer Caps society was established in 2008 to “encourage visibility of queer activists on campus,” according its webpage. 

After the initial shock many students are often pleasantly surprised when they discover that they have been selected to be a part of one of these prestigious groups. 

When I originally found out that I was selected I had a million things rushing through my head,” said Gavin Wood ’21 who was tapped by The Order of Scroll and Key. “It really was out of nowhere and was a pretty big surprise. Honestly, the main thoughts running through my head were ‘why did they pick me, who else did they pick, and what’s next,’” he said. 

The  college community has benefited from the service of these societies. Members of these societies discreetly participate in various philanthropic events throughout the year that benefit the college and the Carlisle community.

When asked about how secret societies have benefitted Dickinson, Bruno Kaboyi ’21 (Scroll and Key) said, “As a whole, our biggest contribution to the community is definitely through community service and philanthropy. We strive to support the campus and larger Carlisle community. Even though our names are not on a lot of initiatives, we are the foundation of a lot of philanthropic initiatives on campus,” said Kaboyi. “We are here to make actions for the benefit of campus and not to highlight our brand.” 

The continued significance of these societies is in large part due to their rich history and traditions that have been carried down generation after generation by students that continue to demonstrate excellence. Claire Jeantheau ’21, a new member of the Wheel and Chain’s 97th class, said, “ I think it’s great to have a connecting thread to just some of the people who have used their time on campus to make Dickinson and Carlisle better places.” 

The Queer Caps Soceity does not host their tapping ceremony until the Spring semester. Current senior members of the society tap juniors to be inducted the following year.