Mortar Board was founded in 1918 by women students from Cornell University, The University of Michigan, The Ohio State University, and Swarthmore College. Mortar Board is dedicated to the principles of "scholarship, leadership and service," and the "advancement of the status of women." Since its founding, nearly a quarter of a million members have been initiated across the nation. There are 229 chartered collegiate chapters in 47 states. In 1975 Mortar Board became a coeducational organization with the initiation of its first male students.
Pacific's chapter of Mortar Board was established in 1949 as the Knolens Women's Senior Honor Society, named after Mrs. Emily Knoles, wife of University chancellor and president Tully Knoles. The Society became the fully recognized Knolens chapter of Mortar Board in 1967.
Each spring the current membership selects individuals who will be invited to become new members of the Knolens chapter. All Pacific students with junior standing are eligible for consideration. Students are selected on the basis of their outstanding scholarship (top 30% of the junior class), and their demonstrated leadership and service to the University and/or their communities.