The Grand Lodge of New York is enthusiastically embracing the "Academic Lodge" concept that is being actively being promoted by the Masonic Renewal Committee, using examples developed in other East Coast jurisdictions, along with the UGLE's "Universities Scheme." New York Masons have established a Committee for Fraternity on Campus under the leadership pf RW Edmund "Ted" Harrison. They are currently seeking interested members to form two academic lodges in New York City—one for the Columbia University community to be called Columbia Lodge U.D., and another for the City University of New York (CUNY) community to be called Illumination Lodge U.D. Neither lodge will have any official university affiliation, and both of them will meet at the Grand Lodge headquarters building on 23rd Street, and not on either of the schools' campuses. They will be joining the Seventh Manhattan District under the leadership pf Daniel Eckman and Earnest Hudson. Both lodges are expecting their dispensations by the beginning of the year.
A preliminary website has been set up for Columbia Lodge in anticipation of their official opening at www.columbialodge1754.org . They are welcoming petitions for membership and affiliation, both locally and internationally, so they can quickly add to the twenty or so brothers who are helping to start this new lodge. Membership is open to students, alumni, faculty, and staff from all Columbia University divisions, as well as to their direct relatives (father, son, husband, brother). New York permits out of state memberships, and the international membership fee is very reasonably set at $150 to encourage even overseas members of the Columbia community to join. Also, their meetings will take place only during the academic calendar, about eight times a year, and will be on Saturday mornings at 11am followed by lunch.
Organizers are attempting to give a Continental-influenced flavor to Columbia Lodge, with slower progression from degree to degree, a requirement to present papers before advancement, an expectation for a paper or other presentation to be delivered at each communication, and other features.
(NOTE: If I receive contact information for the CUNY-related Illumination Lodge, I will update this post and place it here.)
UGLE has 72 similarly organized lodges that are aligned with colleges and universities throughout their jurisdiction as part of their Universities Scheme. By contrast, there are remarkably few in the United States. However, there are several Academic Lodges currently chartered. Have a look at them and see how they have handled their formation and characterization:
- The Harvard Lodge, Cambridge MA
- Boston University Lodge, Boston MA
- The Colonial Lodge No. 1821, George Washington University, DC
- The Patriot No. 1957, George Mason University, Virginia
- State College Lodge 770, North Carolina State University, NC
- Terrapin Lodge No. 241, University of Maryland
- The Eagle Lodge 1893, American University, DC
Also, be sure to go back up and check the links for the MRC and UGLE programs.