National Leader of the Year Award

The Omicron Delta Kappa Leader of the Year program is named in memory of Gen. Russell E. Dougherty, United States Air Force.  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 Service
  • 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 and is 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 receives a $4,000 scholarship to be used toward graduate or professional school.  If the recipients do not intend to pursue graduate or professional school within three years of the award, they may elect to receive a cash award.

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

2018 National Leader of the Year Recipients

Past Recipients – Dougherty National Leader of the Year Award


National Leader of the Year Process

  • 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, 2019.

Circle Leader of the Year Form

  • 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, 2019.
  • The O∆K Awards Committee recommends four National Leader of the Year finalists and one General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year to the Board of Directors for final approval at the May 1, 2019 Society Board meeting.
  • Recipients will be notified within one week and provided with information about financial processing.

Please note the National Leader of the Year application is separate from the ODK Foundation Scholarship application process this year. Students applying for both will need to complete separate applications.

The Circle Leader of the Year and Doughtery National Leader of the Year process will open on December 5, 2018.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Timothy Reed, Associate Executive Director for Business and Membership Services at (540) 458-5345 or [email protected]