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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

Secret Societies: Not Just at Ivies

US News: "Collegiate secret societies at elite institutions count many influential people among their members, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush ... Skull and Bones at Yale University in Connecticut ... though not part of Greek life, has been considered the most powerful fraternity in the U.S. Other notable members of various college secret societies include presidents William Howard Taft and Teddy Roosevelt, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, musician John Legend and various other influencers in the political, financial and cultural spheres."

"David Alan Richards, a Yale graduate and Skull and Bones alumnus ... describes collegiate secret societies as helpful, interesting and ultimately benign organizations ... While his book focuses on Yale, Richards notes that secret societies also exist at Princeton University in New Jersey in the form of eating clubs, and final clubs at Harvard University in Massachusetts. But secret societies are not limited to Ivy League campuses. Similar organizations can also be found at the University of Virginia, New York University and various other colleges. These groups go by names such as Cadaver Society, Flat Hat Club, Porcellian Club and Eucleian Society."

At Yale, only seniors are admitted to secret societies, though that practice may differ at other colleges ... As juniors, Yale students are scouted by current members to determine who will be tapped for the next secret society class" and "typically admit students based on their achievements." However: "while seemingly a powerful networking tool, secret society membership reflects only a sliver of the college experience."

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