National Leader of the Year Award

The Omicron Delta Kappa Leader of the Year program is named in honor of Gen. Russell E. Dougherty, United States Air Force (Ret.). Gen. Dougherty was one of the Air Force’s best thinkers and planners and served as NATO’s Allied Command Europe headquarters chief of staff, commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command, and executive director of the U.S. Air Force Association.

Each OΔK circle selects an outstanding student to be named their Circle Leader of the Year. These students receive a certificate and are invited to apply for the National Leader of the Year Award.

The OΔK Awards Committee recognizes five finalists on a national level, one for each phase of campus life:

  • Scholarship
  • Athletics
  • Campus or Community Involvement
  • Journalism, Speech, and the Mass Media
  • Creative and Performing Arts

Each National Leader of the Year finalist will receive a $1,000 graduate/professional studies scholarship, a $300 programming grant for his or her circle, and will be featured in The Circle magazine.

Of the five finalists, one student is selected to receive the Gen. Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year Award. The recipient of the National Leader of the Year Award will receive a $4,000 scholarship to be used toward graduate-level study.

The Dougherty Leader of the Year Awards program is sponsored by the Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation, Inc.


National Leader of the Year Process

  1. Each OΔK circle selects an outstanding student to be named their Circle Leader of the Year. The circle coordinator or faculty advisor submits the Circle Leader of the Year form. This form is required and the only manner in which the nomination for the National Leader of the Year may be received.  The deadline to submit the Circle Leader of the Year form to the national headquarters is February 1, 2018.
  2. Once the official nomination is received, the O∆K Headquarters notifies the nominee via email to apply for the National Leader of the Year Award. The application includes a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, unofficial transcript, and resume.  The deadline for the National Leader of the Year application is March 1, 2018.  NOTE:  Students who have submitted an O∆K Foundation Scholarship Application will be permitted to use that information as their National Leader of the Year application.
  3. The O∆K Awards Committee selects four National Leader of the Year finalists and one General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year.

The Circle Leader of the Year and Doughtery National Leader of the Year process is now open. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Timothy Reed, Associate Executive Director for Business and Membership Services at (540) 458-5345 or awards@odk.org.


Past Recipients of the Award

Tracey Gates, Morningside College, (2017)
Palavi Vaidya, Georgia Institute of Technology (2016)
Jacquline Plyler, University of South Carolina (2015)
Allison Baier, St. Lawrence University (2014)
Wayde Marsh, Washington and Lee University (2013)
Matthew Horn, Winthrop University (2012)
Mohammed Modarres, Johns Hopkins University (2011)
Joanna Calabrese, University of Maryland-College Park (2010)
Rebecca Frazier, University of Richmond (2009)
Christina Martin, Florida Southern College (2008)
Mary Kathryn Covert, Samford University (2007)
Brandon Luders, Georgia Institute of Technology (2006)
Brandon Boxler, University of Richmond (2005)
Lara Bratcher, University of South Carolina (2004)
Adam Chepenik, University of Maryland-College Park (2003)
Shannon Nix, Hastings College (2002)
Peyton Hays, Millsaps College (2001)
Mark Orr, Tennessee Tech University (2000)
Caroline Parler, University of South Carolina (1999)
Nada Bashir Memon, University of Alabama (1998)
Hillary Doreen Cherry, University of Maryland-College Park (1997)
Darlene Xiomara Rodriguez, Florida International University (1996)
Carrie Ann Harvey, SUNY Plattsburgh (1995)
Marc W. Solomon, University of Maryland-College Park (1994)
Lara Ann O’Connor, Georgia Institute of Technology (1993)
Jeffery M. Wilson, University of South Carolina (1992)
Mindy Douglas Adams, Erskine College (1991)
Marie-Louise Ramsdale, University of South Carolina (1990)
Winston H. Gillum, Jr., University of Alabama (1989)
Michael W. Hogue, University of South Carolina (1988)
James Boswell III, Millsaps College (1987)
Jack Casteel Bruner, Centre College (1986)
Thomas Frederick Essman, Drake University (1985)
Catherine Lynn Creech, Transylvania University (1984)
Stephen D. Hibbard, University of South Carolina (1983)
Michael F. Suarez, Bucknell University (1982)
Verne Harnish, Wichita State University (1981)
Kathleen S. Edwards, University of South Florida (1980)
Richard Moore Archer, University of Texas at Austin (1979)
Nancy-Ann E. Min, University of Tennessee (1978)
Kathryn A. McCain, Mary Baldwin College (1977)
Paul E. Staples, Troy State University (1976)