The Quaker Chapter of Mortar Board was founded in the Fall quarter of 1921 at the University of Pennsylvania. It became the 15th chapter of the Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society. From the beginning, it was structured on National Mortar Board standards, with the hope that the Quaker Chapter would become part of a growing network of honor societies.Today, Mortar Board remains one of the few senior honor societies on campus with a strong national network.

Since its founding, the Quaker Chapter has grown through change. It has been transformed over the years from a purely honorary organization to an honor, service, and social organization fashioned after the ideals of the national organization. The chapter's service projects have varied from cleaning West Philadelphia neighborhoods to helping build homes with Habitat for Humanity. In 1992 Mortar Board organized a semi-formal for all of Penn's senior honor societies. This was the first such gathering of all the societies since their founding over the years, and has helped improve honor society collaboration.

Selection is based on the demonstrated talents, leadership, and service of Penn's top rising seniors. Recommendations are solicited from academic departments and organizations, and each candidate is carefully considered before selections are made.

Mortar Board elects individuals that contribute their talents, ideas, and accomplishments to the group to achieve common goals. In this respect, Penn Mortar Board enriches the community through leadership, scholarship, and service.