Basic Facts

Areté (Excellence) Diké (Justice) Timé (Honor)

Cum Laude
The presence of a Cum Laude chapter at a secondary school is an indication that superior
scholastic achievement is honored. From an induction ceremony, which can range from a formal,
separate event to a segment of an awards day, to service projects, scholarly writing or other
scholastic activities, individual chapters of Cum Laude create programs appropriate for their own
campus that benefit the larger community as well. In several schools younger students are
commended by Cum Laude, encouraging them in their scholastic pursuits, while in others
visiting scholars are presented by the chapter membership for the edification of all.

Operations
The affairs of the Cum Laude Society are conducted by the Officers and Regents. The Officers
are: President General, Deputy President General, Secretary General, Registrar General, and
eight District Regents. All are elected for three year terms at the time of the Triennial
Convention. In addition there are Regents-at-Large, who are former Presidents General and who
serve additional three year terms.
The daily affairs of the Society are conducted at the central office in Louisville, Kentucky under
the supervision of the Registrar General. There all records and materials of the Society are kept;
financial affairs are handled; correspondence is sent to the chapters; reports are collected;
complete files of Cum Laude members, past and present, are maintained; and questions of
operation and procedure are answered or directed to the proper Officer or Regent.
For administrative purposes, each chapter is assigned to one of the eight geographical districts,
and each district is under the supervision of a District Regent. Although the districts are quite
uneven in geographical size, each has approximately 40 chapters.
The Executive Committee, composed of the President General, the Deputy President General,
the Secretary General, and the Registrar General, reviews the current business and problems of
the Society, previews membership applications, and plans agenda for the Regents' meetings. Any
three Officers, in consultation, are empowered to act on financial and investment matters
between annual meetings.
Each chapter may decide whether or not to be an "active" chapter or merely to hold annual
ceremonies for the induction of members. Active chapters sponsor lecture series, tutoring
programs, or seminars on scholarly subjects, or produce special literary publications.
The degree to which a chapter is active in promoting the intellectual life of the school depends to
some extent upon the time of year it holds its elections and the number and types of other
organizations and groups already functioning in the school. If a chapter wishes, it may include in

 
 

its activities students who are not yet members, but whose academic records and scholarly
concerns meet the standards of the Society.
The Chapter Secretary, a faculty member, is asked to be responsible for carrying out several
important functions. Before July 1, the Secretary prepares and submits the Annual Report which
gives important statistics on the elections of that year, the chapter's activities, and the names of
officers for the next year and renews annual dues. The names of the officers and contact
information must also be updated on the online account. Also, the Secretary records the names of
the inductees on the Induction Registration Form and pays appropriate fees and places the order
for the pins and certificates the chapter will need in its elections of the next school year. A
Manual for Chapter Secretaries is published and distributed after each Triennial Convention.
Ten Year Chapter Review
Once every decade, each chapter is asked to file a Ten-Year Chapter Review, the purpose of
which is to insure the Regents that the school is maintaining the same high academic standards
that made it eligible for a charter in the Society originally. The Regents study these reports with
great care.
Student Membership
Each Chapter may elect up to 20% of the members of the Senior Class in the college preparatory
curriculum who have an honor record. Half may be elected at the end of the junior year or at any
time during the Senior year and the remainder at the end of the Senior year. The 20% limit is not
to be construed as a requirement to elect the full number permitted every year. If for some reason
the chapter feels that in a particular year more than the 20% should be elected, they should seek
permission to do so from the District Regent before the elections are held. Because classes do
vary in academic quality from year to year, especially in smaller schools, it has been a judgment
in many schools that the election of a smaller percentage will on occasion better serve the
purposes and goals of the Society, and in such cases the school is urged to restrict the number of
students honored by election into the Cum Laude Society. The definition of what constitutes an
academic honor record and the determination of how to select members are left to the discretion
of the individual chapter. Chapters shall be free to elect members who have demonstrated
academic excellence in accordance with the philosophy and policies governing their individual
schools. In the broadest sense, the Regents assume chapters will elect to membership only
students who have demonstrated good character, honor, and integrity in all aspects of their
school life. Since there are other agencies for the rewarding of achievement in areas such as
social services, extracurricular activities, citizenship and athletics, Cum Laude elections should
be based on academic excellence, in keeping with the original purpose of the Society.
Chapter Leadership
The operation of a local chapter of Cum Laude is entrusted to a few faculty members and
administrators at each member school. Faculty members are usually drawn from those who are
members of Phi Beta Kappa and others judged to have suitable qualification. Each chapter may
decide whether or not to be an "active" chapter or merely to hold annual ceremonies for the
induction of members. Active chapters sponsor lecture series, tutoring programs, or seminars on
scholarly subjects, or produce special literary publications.

 
 

Administration
The administration of the Society Cum Laude is directed by a board of four officers, nine regents
and one staff person. The daily affairs of the Society are conducted at the central office in
Louisville, Kentucky under the supervision of the Registrar General. There all records and
materials of the Society are kept; financial affairs are handled; correspondence is sent to the
chapters; reports are collected; complete files of Cum Laude members, past and present, are
maintained; and questions of operation and procedure are answered or directed to the proper
Officer or Regent.
Cum Laude
The Society, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational organization, has financed its operations and
constant growth solely by its modest fees. From 1963 to 1987, the Central Office was located at
the headquarters of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) in Boston. In 1987,
it was moved to the campus of Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire. In 1993, the Central
Office was relocated to Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, Indiana, then to Florida under the
same leadership. In 2008 the offices were relocated again to Louisville, Kentucky to the campus
of Kentucky Country Day School. As of 2013 the Society consists of over 380 chapters,
approximately two dozen of which are located in public schools and the rest in independent
schools in the United States, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Canada, England, France and Spain.
Some 4,000 new student members are inducted annually.
As one studies the new chapter applications and the Annual Chapter Reports, it becomes evident
that more than eight decades later, Dr. Harris's dream of giving scholastic achievement in the
secondary school the honor and recognition it deserves has been realized.

The Cum Laude Society - 9462 Brownsboro Road #359, Louisville, KY 40241 - centraloffice@cumlaudesociety.org - 502-216-3814
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