•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Secret societies have long been part of the tapestry of American higher education. They have, however, remained largely unexamined and unspoken of, as if their existence itself is a secret. This article explores the contextual development of secret societies within the academy. The role of secrecy in the development of the first student organizations is outlined and examples of current societies are discussed. As student affairs professionals, it is imperative that we understand this historical context, namely the dangers of institutional paternalism and secrecy, in order to create a current conception of the status and influences of secret societies on our campuses.