Leader of the Year Award

Applications are now available for the 2014 National Leader of the Year Award. 
Submissions were due March 15, 2014 at midnight.

The award criteria changed from previous years, so please take a moment to read a description of the changes below.

History of the General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year Award:
The National Committee for the Ο∆Κ Leader of the Year award was authorized by the 1974 National Convention following a recommendation by the National Committee on Scholarship Awards. The Committee studied the desirability of creating this award and set guidelines to identify an outstanding Ο∆Κ student member of the year from each region and to designate a National Leader of the Year from the regional winners. At its January 1975 meeting, the General Council approved the award and the guidelines established by the National Committee. In 2010, the National Convention voted to abolish the regional structure of our Circles.  With this change, a new selection system for the National Leader of the Year has been put into place.  Each Circle should nominate one O∆K student member of the year from their Circle to compete for the National Leader of the Year award.  Five candidates will be recognized, one from each phase of campus life. From those five, a National Leader of the Year will be selected. 

Click here to read about the 2013 National Leader of the Year and top award recipients.

Click here for the list of all past National Leader of the Year Award Recipients.

How to Apply:
Every Circle should select a Leader of the Year every year! Not only is this an opportunity to "win" a sizeable grant for your Circle and up to a $4,000 graduate scholarship for your Leader of the Year, it is a wonderful opportunity to honor one of your own members in the Ο∆Κ tradition. This year the top award criteria has changed.  Please read below for more details.  

Each Circle should select and nominate one Ο∆Κ student member for the award and should follow all the procedures for filing with National Headquarters by the March 15th postmark deadline. The files of the Circle nominee must be sent over the signature of the Circle’s Faculty Secretary or Advisor, using the application that can be found on our web site as the official application.

The five most outstanding students will be chosen to honor each of the five stars in the O∆K Key, each representing an important phase of campus life; Scholarship, Athletics, Campus or Community Involvement, Journalism, and the Creative and Performing Arts. From these five students one of them will be selected as the National Leader of the Year and will receive a $4,000 graduate studies scholarship. Each of the other four outstanding leaders will be awarded a $1000 graduate studies scholarship and a $300 grant for his or her Circle to enrich programming and outreach on their campuses. 

The following criteria will be used in planning the implementation of the individual Circle grants: 
  1. Opt to have the funds granted to their Circle to assist with travel costs not already paid by National Headquarters to attend the National Leadersip Summit & Convention {only in convention years}.
  2. Opt to have the funds donated to the College or University Development Office on behalf of the Circle and the Leader of the Year for a purpose decided upon mutually by the Leader of the Year and the Development Office.
  3. Opt to have the funds donated to the College or University Library on behalf of the Circle and the Leader of the Year for the purchase of a book or books.
  4. Opt to have the funds in the form of a grant to the Circle to help support expenses associated with a leadership development program {the Circle would be required to submit a plan and budget before the funds would be released}.

Selecting your local Circle Leader of The Year:

Since the person selected by your Circle must prepare a file for the Leader of the Year competition, it is important that your local selection is properly timed to allow that person to meet the annual March 15 postmark deadline.  This may mean selecting your Leader of the Year prior to the holidays or at the very beginning of the spring term.  In an effort to assist you in accomplishing this, we offer the following possible method and schedule:

Form a Committee of the Faculty/Staff members of your Circle in November to serve as a Leader of the Year Nomination Committee.  They should be charged with reviewing the eligible members of the Circle and bringing no less than 3 no more than 5 nominees to a meeting of the Circle for their vote.

Obviously, the method for selecting nominees is the prerogative of your Circle and can vary from this suggestion.  A number of Circles use this method and timetable because it provides an active and appropriate role for their faculty membership.  In addition, it tends to keep the selection both more objective and in the realm of "leadership rather than popularity."  The timetable also allows the Leader of the Year selected by your Circle to meet the national deadlines without undue hardship at an otherwise busy time of the academic year.

The Selection Process:
The National Awards Committee will be responsible for the selection of the five outstanding leaders and choosing the National Leader of the Year.  Ο∆Κ's Director of Communications & Programs will process all applications and pass along all complete files to the voting members of the committee.   
The National Awards Committee will choose the top five applicants according to the five phases of campus life, and will select the General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year. 

The National Committee feels that it is important that everyone involved with Ο∆Κ should take an active role to publicize this award. The NAC, Faculty Secretaries, Faculty Advisors and Circle Presidents are urged to encourage their nominees to file their materials as early as possible and within the deadlines indicated.

NOTE: The deadline for filing nominee files at National Headquarters (March 15 postmark deadline) is ABSOLUTE. In addition, EACH Circle nominee must be endorsed by letter from the Faculty Secretary of the Circle. This letter may be emailed directly to awards@odk.org or mailed and must be received by the March 15th deadline.

I.    The conditions and materials required in the nominee's files are as follows:

  • The nominee must be an active voting student member of Omicron Delta Kappa.
  • ONE formal nomination using an official Leader of the Year award form must be filed by the Circle winner. A copy of the official Leader of the Year award form can be obtained here.
  • ONE official transcript of his or her academic record. 
  • ONE copy of brief statements in which he or she describes his or her vocational objectives.
  • At least TWO letters of recommendation are required and must accompany the file. These can be from the nominee’s major field, an administrative official of his or her institution, or an associate within or outside the campus community.
  • ONE recent, formal, head & shoulders photograph. Photo will be retained at Headquarters for publicity purposes only and will not accompany the application to the selection committee. PLEASE DO NOT SEND PROOFS OR PASSPORT PHOTOS. You may send electronic or digital photos by email to awards@odk.org.
  • The Circle’s nominee must be endorsed in writing by the Faculty Secretary or Advisor of that Circle and that letter must accompany the nominee’s files.
II.    Competition levels.
  • Local:  Each Circle chooses the individual who will best represent the Circle and who meets the conditions of the award. The student must submit their complete application to Ο∆Κ National Headquarters on or before the March 15th postmark deadline.
  • National:  The National Awards Committee will select the top student from each phases of campus life and the 2013 Ο∆Κ National Leader of the Year.  All nominees will be notified of the action of the committee by June 15, 2013.  The National Leader of the Year will be granted a $4000 scholarship and the other four finalist will be awarded a $1000 scholarship to attend graduate school within three years of the semester the scholarship is granted.  In addition, all five recipients will be awarded a $300 grant for his/her Circle. The Circle grants must be claimed within three years of when the award is granted.
Submit your online application today! 



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