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O∆K Announces 2014 Pillars of Leadership Recipients

The Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation recently announced its intention to create a new award--one that honors alumni who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in one of the Society's five pillars of leadership:

  • Scholarship
  • Athletics
  • Campus or Community Service, Social and Religious Activities, and Campus Government
  • Journalism, Speech and Mass Media
  • Creative and Performing Arts

The Pillars of Leadership Awards will be formally announced at this year's National Convention and Centennial Celebration.

"We look across the country and see so many O∆K alumni who have taken what they learned as student leaders on their college campuses and have expanded upon it to create lasting change in their area of influence," said Tara Singer, executive director of Omicron Delta Kappa. "They're living the O∆K Idea every day."

This year's Pillars of Leadership Award recipients are:

Sally Albrecht
Composer, Musician, and Performer
Rollins College Circle (1975)

Michael G. Riley
CEO and Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Wake Forest University Circle (1981)

Larry J. Sabato
Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Political Science
University of Virginia Circle (1972)

Quinton D. Studer
Founder, Studer Group, Inc.
University of West Florida Circle (Fall 2014)

Patricia S. Summitt
Head Coach Emeritus, Lady Volunteers Basketball Team
University of Tennessee Circle (1978)


Board of Directors Provisionally Approves 2024 Long Range Plan

Omicron Delta Kappa's Board of Directors has announced the preliminary approval of a 10-year long range plan, "ODK 2024: Leading for Our Second Century." The plan will be officially adopted at the 2014 National Convention and Centennial Celebration.

At the summer 2013 meeting of the Omicron Delta Kappa Society Board of Directors, the Long Range Planning Steering Committee met for the first time and adopted seven strategic priorities:

  • Strategic Priority 1: Increase membership and enhance member participation
  • Strategic Priority 2: Advance leadership education
  • Strategic Priority 3: Develop strategic alliances
  • Strategic Priority 4: Strengthen and leverage existing programs of promise and distinction
  • Strategic Priority 5: Diversify and increase revenue
  • Strategic Priority 6: Recruit and retain great personnel and volunteers
  • Strategic Priority 7: Increase charitable resources

During the following nine months, dozens of national volunteer leaders from across the country--members of the Board of Directors, Foundation Board of Trustees and National Advisory Council-- worked with staff to develop initiatives, action items and metrics for each of the seven strategic priorities.

The plan was intentionally developed with a decade-long lens. ODK'’s Long Range Plan, "“ODK 2024: Leading for Our Second Century”," outlines the initiatives and action steps the Society will implement over the next decade, acknowledging that items may need to be revisited and adjusted over time. The Board of Directors anticipates that the core strategic priorities will largely remain unchanged.

The Board of Directors provisionally adopted a draft of the long range plan on April 8, 2014. The plan will continue to be refined going into this June's National Convention, with initiative managers being identified and metrics being developed to gauge the plan'’s progress.

A draft is available online. ODK 2024 will be formally unveiled at the Biennial Convention and Centennial Celebration scheduled for June 12-14, 2014 in Lexington, Va.


April 9, 2015: National Day of Service

To inspire service to our community, OΔK hosts a National Day of Service each year. In 2015, OΔK’s National Day of Service will be held Thursday, April 9.

There are three ways your Circle can get involved and give back:

  • Volunteer individually or as a group with an established nonprofit
  • Plan and execute a small-scale service project that members of your Circle can complete together
  • Plan and execute a campus-wide service project that is open to participants who are not members of OΔK

Learn more about ways your circle can support OΔK’s National Day of Service.


Monday Musings: The New Beginnings of 2015

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When I walked into O∆K's headquarters this morning, I was greeted by a butterfly.  It may be a moth; regardless, it was beautiful.  It was sitting on a table inside stretching its wings when I arrived.  Although Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today to indicate six more weeks of winter, as I let the butterfly out of the building, it was a great reminder that the newness of spring was coming.

The last day of January also purported the newness in the life of Omicron Delta Kappa.  Foundation Treasurer Rich Pirrotta installed the St. Norbert College Circle on Saturday, January 31st.   Shelly Mumma, Christi Burrill and Logan Jadin, as well as the 23 other charter members, championed the effort to bring Omicron Delta Kappa to St. Norbert.  Dr. Thomas Kunkel, the president of SNC, is an initiate of the Sigma Circle at the University of Maryland, College Park.  The establishment of the St. Norbert College Circle brings the number of active O∆K circles to 293.

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Over the weekend, members of the national headquarters staff also had the opportunity to witness multiple new beginnings of friendship, enhanced circle operations and greater self-understanding through StrengthsQuest education at the first two 2015 drive-in workshops.  Our thanks goes out to our contacts at East Carolina University and the University of Pittsburgh.

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Juliana Jalal, circle president and a member of O∆K's Student Advisory Board, and Krista Wilhelm, faculty advisor, along with the members of the ECU Circle were great hosts in Greenville.  More than 35 students and faculty officers attended the program representing circles from ECU, Elon, Guilford and UNC-Wilmington.

In slightly colder climes at the University of Pittsburgh, Ty Houy, circle president, and Angela Miller McGraw, faculty advisor, assisted staff in welcoming 20 registrants to the beautiful Cathedral of Learning on Pitt's campus.  In spite of a little snow and ice, individuals from the University of Akron, Chatham University and Grove City College traveled to join the members of the Pitt circle to share new ideas and best practices.

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This coming weekend has three more drive-in workshops scheduled at Albany, Georgia, and Stephen F. Austin.  It is great to be able to look forward to another weekend of new beginnings, connections and understanding.


The Depths of a Simple Smile

Over the past six months, I have not only been traveling to points in Europe and Central America but also using these opportunities to discern the next phase of my life. Specifically, I am discerning where my heart is guiding me to use and share my leadership skills and experiences. Most recently I returned to Zacapa, Guatemala on an eight-day service/mission trip with my local church and an organization called Hearts in Motion. The date of departure was exactly five months after my arrival back in the states from my first service trip to Guatemala in late July 2014.

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As I reflect on this most recent trip, I am consistently reminded about the importance of a smile. During both Guatemalan trips, we were given a service journal which included daily reflections and challenges. Our very first challenge, at the start of the week, was to smile. As Mother Teresa said, "Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” A simple smile is all that it takes to show another that you care, that you respect them for the human person they are. Mother Teresa also said, “The world would be a much better place if everyone smiled more. So smile, be cheerful, be joyous that God loves you.” You have all probably shared in the experience of receiving or giving a smile, especially in a dark time.

However, my question is, “What truly makes you smile?” Throughout the course of my experiences in Guatemala, the act of a simple smile gave me a new perspective.  I realized not only the joy it brings to others but also how it can deepen our inner joy and help us to discover our true passions in life. Besides sharing a smile with those you pass by, what else brings a smile to your face? What actions, stories, interests and loves bring that smile out of you?

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As I have shared my experiences of the past several months with old friends and new, I am amazed by the passion and inner joy these stories bring out in me.  My inner smile radiates happiness to everyone around me. Recognizing how this simple smile radiates so much joy in my heart, I more clearly understand who I am and what drives me.

So what drives you? Are you just going through the motions of your day or are you embracing your passions? I challenge you to take a step back and uncover what makes your heart smile and find those passions in your life. Recognizing life’s passions provide each of us a deeper understanding of who we are and where our happiness lies.  It gives us the energy to pick up each morning and continue making a meaningful difference in our world.

Most of you have many accomplishments and have made a difference in the lives of others.  You have had an impact on countless individuals and have had amazing experiences that come from a driving passion that brings a smile to your face and a smile on the faces of others. It starts with a smile, an understanding of our passions, and then leads to us stepping out of our comfort zone to embrace and embark on a new journey.

During my New Year’s trip to Guatemala, we served alongside several physical therapists (PT) and PT students. One of the PTs I was privileged to meet was a young man, Efosa Guobadia.  Efosa is on an eight-month journey across the world educating others on the benefits of PT while leading and serving in a variety of communities. You can tell from the smile on his face that he has an amazing passion for physical therapy as well as teaching and leading others to a fuller understanding of PT and how it manifests itself in the world. He wrote a poem titled I Lead by Serving, and I Serve to Lead in which he shares why he is on this eight-month journey. I encourage you to go check it out.

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A simple smile means so much more than just an expression on your face. It not only brings happiness to those around you, but it also gives you insight into your passions, which in turn leads you to amazing adventures making a difference in our world. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, once said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” My hope is that you too will find that inner joy and passion that makes your heart smile as you lead and serve others.