If you read my post last week, I mentioned that I was heading to Atlanta for an alumni, faculty, friend, and student reception on Tuesday, June 18th. On Monday, Bobby Ann Stanton, our director of development and alumni engagement, and I loaded into my navy blue Volvo, put the magnetic Omicron Delta Kappa placard on the car, and headed off on what we have termed as “Bobby and Tara’s Excellent Adventure.”
We arrived in Atlanta late on Monday afternoon and were the guests of a former colleague of mine for a lovely dinner and conversation at Blue Ridge Grille. After dinner and back at the hotel, I had the delight of a long conversation with my friend from college and fellow O∆K member Rob Chiles. The next morning, we were in the car and on our way to the Carter Center by 6:45 a.m. When we got there, we pulled into the parking lot about the same time as our host Calder Sinclair and his lovely wife. Calder is a Foundation Trustee. He and his business partner, Rob Townes – also a member of O∆K (check out www.sinclairtownes.com), arranged for the the breakfast that was attended by about 35 individuals.
There were lots of wonderful people at this event, and wide variety of Circles were represented including Georgia, West Georgia, Georgia Southern, Louisville, Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia State, Morehouse, and Emory. Melvina King, a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Society Board of Directors, and Bill Kelly, a former Foundation Trustee were in attendance. I had the chance to reconnect with a student officer from my time at West Georgia and to visit with several students from UGA. And, I got to meet Ben Williams who comments regularly on this blog and is heading to Miami University (in Ohio) in the fall.
After the event on Tuesday morning, Bobby accompanied me to the Shepherd Center (www.shepherd.org) to visit with a friend of mine from graduate school. My friend who has been a long-time patient there is an excellent public speaker and has agreed to speak about personal leadership and change management at one of the 2015 drive-in conferences.
Following our visit to the Shepherd Center, Bobby and I headed up the highway to Mentone, Ala. We had the wonderful experience of spending the night at the mountaintop home of Ann and Russ Chambliss. Russ is a Foundation Trustee. There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset from the top of a beautiful mountain on a perfect summer day. On Wednesday morning, Russ, Bobby, and I had a long conversation about the Centennial Campaign and the importance of the $100 for 100 years of leadership effort. Thank you to all those individuals who have contributed and to the Circles that have provided content for their campus specific letters. I will be writing more about this campaign in the weeks and months to come.
Later on Wednesday, Bobby and I took off for Nashville to visit with David Gibbs who was inducted into the Circle at the University of Richmond. We had a wide-ranging and fascinating conversation with David about his new business before heading to Bowling Green, Ky. where we stopped briefly to see my youngest son and then drove on up I-65 to Louisville to spend the night with my parents and visit with my middle son. My folks are retired university people, and they were great hosts for those of us traveling on a budget!
Thursday was the final day of our “excellent adventure.” Bobby and I had a few appointments in the morning and then we went to my alma mater to make arrangements for the Friday, September 20th O∆K event that will be held at the University Club on the University of Louisville campus. We also had the pleasure and honor to have lunch with Ray Burse, the former president of Kentucky State University. Mr. Burse and I thoroughly enjoyed the overlapping connections in our small world.
It was nearly 11:00 p.m. before we got home last night, and today has been a day of catching up; but it was just a wonderful week. It showed me how there is a great diversity of individuals who are interested in the future of O∆K and how they are absolutely committed to our organization’s success. Simply put: our alumni are distinguished, our volunteers are passionate, and our students are inspiring. I look forward to meeting more of our members soon!!