Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Quill and Dagger
Quill and Dagger is the second oldest senior honor society at Cornell University that recognizes outstanding leadership and service, with some secrecy about their activities. They admit approximately twenty-five seniors each semester who have exhibited leadership, character, and service (ref: Olin Library Tapping Documents) to the University. They meet in the tower of Lyon Hall on West Campus which is their's exclusively.
Quill and Dagger was founded in 1893 by two former members of another society (some say this society is Sphinx Head Society, although archives suggest it may have been another rival society). There is some confusion about whether Andrew D. White, a member of Skull & Bones at Yale, also took part in the founding (see Olin Archives, this is noted in Correspondences)
Members of the Q&D meet at the each semester in the tower to choose the next group of members. The selection process is an all-day affair with one instance taking fourteen hours. Members must pay dues to Q&D to participate in selection.
Popular targets for selection are those who have shown (in the eyes of some) commitment to the University. This includes class leaders, those involved in volunteer work, the Greek system, and writers/editors for the Cornell Daily Sun.
The following was written by Gligor Tashkovich, a former Q&D member:
- We began to admit women back in the early 1970s. We now admit up to 40 people a year (up to 20 in the Fall semester, and up to 20 in the Spring semester) for life membership in the Society. These undergraduate students must either be second-semester juniors or first-semester seniors at Cornell University. We seek to recognize the top 1% of student leadership at Cornell. When we take a full set of 40 people, that number rises slightly to 1.3%.
"114s" (Spring 2005 Tapping Class)
- Alec Macaulay, Alexander Deyle, Ashley Higgins, Brittani Rettig, Daniel Bonner, Dona Hettiaratchy, Enoch Chu, Erica Temel, Eugene Ngai, Gillian Crowl, Hai-Ching Yang, James Shliferstein, Justin Teo, Kelsey Tardiff, Kervin Pillot, Kevin Huang, Matthew Moulson, Michael Mormile, Rachel Pokorney, Shashi Bhat, Zachary Kaplan
"113s" (Fall 2005 Tapping Class)
- Andy Guess, Andy Riesenberg, Daisy Torres, Dana Diament, Dani Leah, Danny Pearlstein, Emily Ulmer, Erica Kagan, Farid Ben Amor, Fatima Iqbal, Haruka Okihara, Jeff Massa, Jeremy Downs, Lin Yang, Luke Hanset, Mike Taylor, Nathan Shinagawa, Rachel Doyle, Randy Allen, Rob Young, Ryan Munch, Sean Burke, Shiri Sandler, Stephanie Wedekind, Thomas Matthews, Toby Lewis, Tracy Sinnott, Travis Lee
After selection is made, those who are selected are "tapped." One who is tapped can decline to accept the offer. An issue of concern to Q&D during the tapping process are "double-taps." These are people who are selected not only by Q&D but by the Sphinx Head Society as well. Q&D identifies "double-taps" by consulting with an insider in the administration. Much effort is made to court these "double-taps."
The initiates are tapped at night and the current Q&D members traverse campus with cloaks on.
Each class is identified by their class number. In the case of the class of 2005, they are the 113th "tapping" class of Q&D.
One can also be an "honorary tap." These are not given out very frequently. Christopher Reeve was considered for an "honorary tap" but they decided against the idea.
There is controversy around what exactly does Quill and Dagger do for the University and whether they get undeserved, preferential treatment. You might ask why we don't hear about this controversy more often and one of the reasons may be that they try to always recruit Editor of the Cornell Daily Sun.
Many ask why they must act secretly if they are doing good deeds? Can the secret societies be trusted to have Cornell's and the students' best interests in mind? If they do have censorship powers and the ability to influence the administration's decisions, why do they have any more right to do this than anyone else?
Some suggest however that the secret society is plot on the University's part to make a few students feel special while they are here so they will give back when they graduate. In the early 1990's, two members made public the prejudicial selection process used by the society to select members. They reportedly quit because they felt it was wrong that African-American and Latino students were not permitted to enter the society. Today, the society is an diverse group of campus leaders as evidenced by its current members.
The names of the newly-tapped members are published in the Cornell Daily Sun each semester. However, after that point, the names are kept rather quiet. Nevertheless, they eat together in public as well as participate in various activities and volunteer opportunities as a group (but not identified as Q&D).
Q&D enjoys immense support from the Cornell Administration allowing its secrecy to go relatively unquestioned.
Since the refounding of Sphinx Head in 2003 (reference: Olin Library Archives), Q&D now competes for members and prestige. Sphinx Head has allegedly broken into the tower on more than one occasion.
The following was written by Gligor M. Tashkovich, a former Q&D member:
- Many members of Quill & Dagger are in senior positions in industry, government, and the non-profit world -- including Cornell's Board of Trustees. 
The following was written by Daniel Lee, who has spent time studying Q&D:
- Members such as Sandy Berger, Paul Wolfowitz, EB White , Steven J. Hadley , Barber Conable , half of the Cornell Council, and several major contributors named in Cornell's Buildings (including every Athtletic building) were all tapped when they were students at Cornell. 
Q&D tries to keep things on the down-low but many people are interested. Allegedly Q&D has archives on campus that interested parties try to access.
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