Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Brown Key

The Brown Key was created in 1930 as a junior honorary society, replacing Pi Kappa. When first suggested and considered by Pi Kappa in 1924, the proposed “Key Club” had been inspired by the formation of the Green Key of Dartmouth, the Red Key of Cornell, and the Purple Key of Williams College. In 1930 Bear Facts announced, “Brown Key is a Junior honorary organization having for its purpose the entertainment of visiting athletic teams. The new members for this organization are chosen in the Spring of each year and formally ‘tapped’ at the Junior Promenade.” The Brown Key membership of twenty men, five athletic managers, two from college publications, and thirteen at large, was determined by the selection by the Cammarian Club from 35 names submitted by the retiring Brown Key. From 1938 to 1944 the members of the Key were elected by the sophomore class. A new constitution in 1944 returned the right of election to the members and added to the duties of the Key the supervision of athletic rallies and the cheerleaders. Once again in 1947 the sophomores were able to vote on Key members. In 1949 the Key took on the care and feeding of the live bear cubs who performed as the college mascot, “Bruno.” In 1949 the Vigilance Committee came under the supervision of the Key. In 1957 the Brown Key amended its constitution, changed its stated purpose from an honor society to a service organization, the members of which would be elected from a ballot of forty men chosen on the basis of interviews. In 1953 the Eastern Intercollegiate Key Association was formed for the coordination of Key societies in over forty Eastern colleges and their mutual improvement through the sharing of ideas and policies. In March 1958 Brown was host to the sixth annual conference of the Association, attended by representatives of twenty colleges. In 1980 the Brown Key Society was described in Bear Facts as “A service oriented organization which is responsible for balloons and ushers at hockey games, sponsors a series of post football game parties, holds an annual Valentines’ dance, sponsors a faculty lecture series, assists the Alumni Relations office, organizes a Marathon on Spring Weekend, and runs the bulletin board under Faunce Arch.” At some time after that the Key disappeared.