A History of Coffin and Keys
On the night of October 24, 1916, ten men representing each of the various factions existing at the time at the
University of Nevada and comprising men of all walks of college life, met together with the idea of promoting the
common good. The consensus was that a force was needed to give the proper impetus to affairs of school life. At the
time, a rivalry among the various groups threatened to supplant the steadfast loyalty to the university that all its
citizens should unite in giving. It was evident that unless energetic steps were taken at once, our community would
become a collection of wrangling cliques instead of a united whole. Under such conditions, no progress would be
possible. The very life of our university would be threatened. Realizing this, and bound by a pledge to work for
the common good, these men founded this society in which all the component parts of our school may be represented
around the council table.
On October 27th 1916, the same ten men petitioned the President of the University of Nevada for permission to start
a secret society. Their main goal would be to work solely towards the betterment and unity of the university. All major
factions of the university were represented at the council table, to which they brought different views and perspectives.
Coffin and Keys became a forum for campus leaders to discuss issues that faced the campus. We have been accused of many
things throughout our history but the men of Coffin and Keys remain true to the original aims and goals set forth by our
founders almost a century ago. So then, why do we keep the veil of secrecy? Because only in darkness can the truth
flourish. We have not always stood in the shadows--our names used to be known by all--but in 1962 the administration
decided that it no longer felt comfortable with power resting in the hands of the student body. Facing expulsion for
the criticisms we publish in our newsletters Coffin and Keys decided that our purpose would be better served if we
became completely anonymous.
Although much has changed throughout the last hundred years, our aims and goals remain constant. We are still the voice
of the students and will always work towards making the campus on the hill a better place. We have watched as the University
of Nevada has grown and matured into the prestigious institution that now stands before you. We are the guiding hand that
has helped shape the path that countless students have walked. We may stand in the shadows but our actions are seen by all.
We are the Men of Coffin and Keys.