Mensa was founded in 1946 in England by Roland Berrill and Lancelot Ware. It was their thought, not surprisingly, considering the state of the world immediately following World War II, that a group of persons of high intelligence might be valuable as a "brain trust" or "think tank".
Although this function of Mensa has rarely been put to use, perhaps never on an international or national stage, there were other values in the nascent organization that insured its life and growth.
By 1959, Mensa had crossed the Atlantic. Peter Sturgeon, a New York resident, became a member of Mensa in 1960, and in August of that year, got a list of 22 American members and become "Provisional Secretary." The first meeting of what would become American Mensa, Limited was held in September 1960, in Sturgeon’s Brooklyn apartment, with five members present.
The American members moved forward, publishing local newsletters, establishing approved testing in sites throughout the US and Canada, and developing an organizational infrastructure. In November 1964, the first bylaws were adopted, and in 1965, the first elected North American Mensa Committee took office. 1967 saw the establishment of Canadian Mensa, and in 1971, American Mensa, ltd. was registered as a corporate entity under the laws of the State of New York.
It was in November 1961, following a publicity campaign arranged by John Codella (who later became the first elected Chairman of the American Mensa Committee), that Margot Seitelman was hired to deal with the flood of responses from interested would-be members. She held the post of Executive Secretary until her death in 1989. She was lovingly referred to as the Mother of American Mensa. Elected officers came and went, but Margot Seitelman was always there, a living archive of fact and legend, the one who knew what was needed and knew how to make it happen. Although never a member, Margot represented Mensa to many over the years.
In January, 1983 Volume 1, Number 1 of The SCAM was published. Not quite a local group yet, about 100 members of Central Florida Mensa living in Brevard County established their first newsletter and elected their first Executive Committee. That first calendar shows the "SCAMsters" attending a program on capitalism and government regulation presented by a Rollins College professor, dining at Makoto's restaurant, freaking en masse at a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, playing games at a member’s home, organizing a Computer SIG with another member, and enjoying a manatee-watch, canoing and picnic at Blue Springs State Park.
In April 1983, with the help of Regional Vice Chairman David Mann and parent group Central Florida Mensa, Space Coast Area Mensa became a local group of American Mensa, Ltd. Since then, SCAM has doubled in membership, increased and diversified its social programs, developed and implemented fund-rising activities, hosted biennial Regional Gatherings, and participated in community service projects.
One of the proudest achievements of SCAM is the Jim Johnson-Doug Pearson Memorial Scholarship awarded each year. This Scholarship fund is a self-sufficient enterprise supported entirely by the donations and efforts of volunteer SCAM members. It receives no money from American Mensa, Ltd., and uses no dues money paid by members. Each year, at least one award of $500.00 is presented to a college student deemed most worthy by the Scholarship Chair and Committee.
SCAM members have served at the Regional and National levels of Mensa, and SCAM was an integral part of the 1993 Annual Gathering in Orlando held at the Peabody Hotel. Some of the Mensans in the Creative Mischief SIG dressed up as ducks and preceded the Peabody Hotel ducks to their fountain in the lobby.
As mentioned in the homepage, this website is dedicated to the people who made this organization work over the years.
These lists are presented in reverse chronological order (most recent first).