The Gift of the Gavel

The past, present and future of the SOA

Photographs: Allen Bourgeois


The Society of Actuaries (SOA) held its first meeting Nov. 14–16, 1949, at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. History indicates it was an auspicious occasion. One of the gifts presented to the SOA at this meeting came from England’s Institute of Actuaries. The gift—the box and gavel—were made from timber from the 16th century Staple Inn, home to the Institute for 57 years. Sadly, the inn was destroyed by a bomb in 1944. The box and gavel are among the SOA’s most endearing treasures.

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