Prior to 1929, students who participated actively in campus affairs and also attained high scholastic standing received no special recognition at Clarkson. That year Phalanx was organized to honor such individuals. William M. Farrisee, then associate professor of civil engineering and later dean of students, assisted several members of the Class of 1929 in designating 12 charter members.
Now established as Clarkson's highest honorary society, Phalanx has stimulated campus activities and provided recognition of academic achievement, while promoting the qualities of leadership. Just as Phalanx referred to the formation of ranks in ancient Greece, the society's constitution explains "so does Phalanx mean the formation of those who rank in the affairs of Clarkson."
The purpose of Phalanx has remained the same throughout its 81 years: to recognize the achievements and promote the interests of students in extracurricular activities, scholarship, and athletics at Clarkson. Full consideration is given to a candidate's leadership qualities, including personality, ability to lead, and ability to follow.
It has been a recent tradition to hold an annual reception honoring members of Phalanx- Faculty, Alumni, Active and Newly Tapped- in the spring.
University Recognition Day, sponsored by the members of Phalanx, recognizes scholastic achievement as well as outstanding leadership in extracurricular activities at Clarkson.