"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

GL of New York Organizing Two New Academic Lodges

For too long, Freemasons have largely ignored colleges as potential sources of new men seeking bonds of fraternalism and association with quality men of character, experience, and maturity. That is very, very slowly starting to change.

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:
Also, be sure to go back up and check the links for the MRC and UGLE programs.


  1. I am a founding member of Columbia Lodge 1754 (1754 was the year Columbia College was founded.) I think I’m the only international member so far. I graduated from the College in 1974. It’s very exciting. I attended a couple of meetings of Hotspur Lodge in Newcastle to see a friend initiated and raised. They are an academic lodge drawing from Univ. of Newcastle and seeing so many young Brethren gives me hope.

    W.Bro Chris Hansen, PM, Goliath Lodge #5595 UGLE

  2. I am going to be looking into the American University Lodge.

    1. Look forward to hearing from you Scott! We've got contact info on the website (linked above), or you can always email info@theeaglelodge.org

      Secretary and Charter Master of The Eagle Lodge No. 1893

  3. Would such lodges be practical at the University of Georgia or at Vanderbilt in Tennessee, or at the University of West Virginia, given the selective membership situation in such states?

    1. That would be up to the Masons and potential members of those states, and nothing constructive is gained by niggling at that same tooth at every opportunity.

  4. The problem of discrimination is a very major one that can determine the future of the Craft. The leadership of the Craft has to deal with it rather than avoid it.

    1. True, but how do you hope to change the fraternity's collective mind and leadership if you discourage younger reformers from joining in the first place? Rubbing any jurisdiction's nose in a policy at every single turn usually provides results quite the opposite of what you intended. Those GLs will only change internally.

  5. Academic Lodges are already selective in that they only accept Brethren who have a demonstrated connection to the College/University the Lodge is affiliated with.

    I don't suppose there is any rule that an academic Lodge with a connection to a university in, say, Georgia couldn't be set up in a neighbouring state.


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