Florida State University
inspiring the extraordinary


Garnet and Gold Key

Garnet and Gold Key Leadership Honorary

Founded in 1924, Garnet & Gold Key is the oldest leadership honor society on the Florida State University campus. The society was formed to recognize the spirit of service, leadership, and loyalty. The society's annual activities include Torch Night, which recognizes the top 100 incoming freshmen; the conferral of The Ross Oglesby Award, given to one outstanding faculty member who has dedicated at least ten years of service to the University; and a biannual awards reception, which celebrates the most well rounded leaders from diverse areas of campus. Juniors and seniors are able to apply twice a year for membership. Membership is granted on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and a diversified leadership experience.



The mission of Garnet and Gold Key is to recognize members of the Florida State University for their outstanding contributions in the areas of leadership, service, spirit, and scholastics; and to promote those activities, which foster further progress in these areas.


William G. Dodd's seal design is in itself the model of the ideal Florida State University community. Found on the seal are the three torches: Vires, Artes, and Mores that Garnet and Gold Key shares with the Florida State University. The torches of the seal symbolize the fire given to man by the Greek god Prometheus. This fire enabled man to elevate himself above the animals and become human. The torches of the FSU seal symbolize the purpose of the University: the passing on of knowledge from generation to generation. Through these three values, students of the Florida State University are educated physically, mentally, and morally. Members in Garnet and Gold Key are expected to serve as leaders in our campus community and model the way for their peers.


  1. Vires - Strength of all kinds; physical, moral, and intellectual - symbolizes the academic and athletic prowess that has characterized Florida State since 1851.
  2. Artes - Knowledge; that which we acquire knowledge which transcends skills and embraces the appreciation of beauty - represents aesthetic beauty and the ability to harness that beauty and turn it into something that inspires.
  3. Mores - Customs; that build character and tradition - represents the binding moral character that links every trait to a level of consciousness and responsibility.



When Florida State University was Florida State College for Women, the spirit of Odd-Even was predominant in college life. To recognize outstanding girls who had contributed to their college, two women’s honoraries were formed. The odd year honorary was called Spirogira and the even year was known as Esteren. The spirit of service, leadership, and loyalty were the ultimate aims of the honoraries. In 1947, when Florida State College for women became the Florida State University, Spirogira and Esteren continued. Less emphasis was placed on the Odd-even tradition as men were admitted to the University for the first time. In the same year, a male honorary was formed and named Gold Key with the same objectives. In 1948, Spirogira and Esteren merged to become Garnet Key. During the next two decades, both Gold and Garnet Key grew and flourished.


In 1974, women were admitted to Gold Key and men became eligible for membership into Garnet Key. Two years later, the two groups merged to form Garnet and Gold Key which served until the Spring of 1980 when the two groups met to incorporate FSU Gold Key. To start off the new millenium, the group wanted to go back and remember all aspects of their history and tradition and changed the name one last time to Garnet and Gold Key in the year 2000.