Granted the golden key
By Sara Marett
Western's Chancellor Peter Godsoe was inducted into the University of Toronto's Golden Key National Honours Society as an honorary member last week.
The society recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement in all undergraduate disciplines as all student members must finish in the top 15 per cent of their faculty. These students are invited to join for a $70 lifetime membership fee, said Kali Boatright, director of public affairs for the Honours Society's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
Godsoe, who is also the Chief Executive Officer for Scotiabank was chosen to join the society as an honorary member because he is an alumnus of the Toronto university, said society advisor Roseann Runte, president of Victoria College. Other honorary members of the society include Margaret Atwood and former Ontario Premier Bob Rae.
The honorary members of the society are chosen by the student members as people they would like to interact with, to build contacts with and those who are able to provide leadership skills for the students, said Wajahat Khan, chapter president at U of T. "It is not about strengthening corporate ties," he added.
Although the society only accepts students within the top 15 per cent of their discipline, Khan said this does not contradict a university policy stating all student groups must be open to all students. "It is not an exclusive group, everyone is worthy of membership," he said.
Khan admitted just like any team, a member must meet certain requirements to join. He added if students who do not meet the requirements want to participate in any events held by the society, they are welcome.
Mark Herndon, director of international development at Golden Key headquarters in Atlanta, said they are starting chapters this year at the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta and McMaster University. McGill University and Toronto are currently the only schools in Canada with chapters.
"A number of individuals have suggested we begin a chapter at Western," Herndon said, adding although the American headquarters have not yet approached Western's administrators with the idea, they may do so next year.
He said the society's headquarters maintain a close relationship with the universities who have chapters. "We work together to ensure we modify our program to meet the specific needs of the community," Herndon said.
Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic, said he is not familiar with the society or its membership requirements but said Western would welcome any organization that attempts to recognize and applaud academic achievement.