The Blue Key Honor Society was founded at the University of Florida in 1924. The Oregon State chapter was established in 1934 to recognize male students with a strong academic background and a who demonstrated "superior leadership and unselfish commitment to others". Women became eligible for membership in 1977; prior to that time, Mortar Board was the comparable organization at Oregon State for women students.
The Donald Wilson MacKenzie Blue Key Memorial Award was established in memory of MacKenzie, a 1953 graduate of Oregon State in forestry who died soon after graduation, in the summer of 1953, in a logging accident near Brightwood, Oregon. The scholarship was made annually to a male Oregon State College student who best exhibited the characteristics for which Don MacKenzie was known.
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