Last week, Lindsey Cline, O∆K’s new director of communications and programs, and I had the pleasure of visiting the greater Grand Rapids region. We were there in preparation for the 2016 Omicron Delta Kappa Biennial Convention and Leadership Conference. For those who endured the sweltering heat during our last three conventions, I think the milder climes of Michigan in June will be welcome. May it be as nice next summer as it was last week!
The 2016 convention will be held June 16 – 19. Delegates, collegiate members and perhaps some faculty officers will stay in the beautiful Niemeyer Complex on the Allendale campus of Grand Valley State University. The Niemeyer Complex is the home of the honors college at GVSU and offers two bedrooms/one bath and four bedrooms/two bath options with shared living, dining and kitchen space. Members of the Society Board of Directors and Foundation Board of Trustees are planning on staying in downtown Grand Rapids close to where we will hold several of our special events during the convention.
The leadership of our circles at GVSU, Ferris State University and Hope College are excited about next year’s O∆K convention. Lindsey and I were able to connect with leaders from each of the schools when we were in town last week, and each institution has something special to offer our convention attendees. Hope College, in Holland, Mich., will be hosting our traditional 5K race and fun run on Saturday, June 18. Ferris State University will be very involved with coordinating the Fifteen Projects in Honor of Fifteen Founders on Friday, June 17. And, Grand Valley State University will be our home base for the entire convention. In addition to housing the convention participants, many of the convention activities will take place in the beautiful facilities on the Allendale campus including the Mary Imelda Pew Library and the Kirkhof Center.
We already have some great speakers lined up for the convention including a number of O∆K members. Derreck Kayongo, the founder of Global Soap and an initiate of the East Carolina University Circle, will be our opening keynote speaker on Thursday, June 16. Earlier in the day, we will be holding two pre-conference workshops on leadership development topics. Following Derreck’s speech, we will hold the traditional parade of circles where we will celebrate institutions that installed from 1914 to 2016 (102 years of leadership).
On Friday, June 17, we will have a variety of speakers and be engaged in our tradition of completing 15 Projects in Honor of 15 Founders. Bree Boyce, the 2012 Miss South Carolina and a 2015 initiate of the Francis Marion University Circle, will be our lunchtime speaker. On Saturday, she will be our honorary starter for the 5K race and fun run. Friday evening will conclude with a special reception for the faculty officers and the biennial awards dinner where circles, scholars and O∆K volunteers will be recognized for their achievements and accomplishments.
Saturday is going to be a very, very busy day. Following the fun run, Dr. Ann Marie Klotz, an alumna of GVSU and a member of the circle there will be the featured speaker. Professionally, Ann Marie is the dean of students on the Manhattan campus of the New York Institute of Technology. She will be speaking on the topic of developing one’s leadership brand. Also, she will be moderating the presidential panel featuring the leadership of our three host institutions as well as some other college and university presidents. A variety of concurrent sessions on programming, circle resources and professional development will be held on Saturday as well.
The day will conclude with our closing dinner reception at a unique venue in downtown Grand Rapids. After the formal program, the attendees will have the opportunity to explore the city and visit such places as The Bob, Hop Cat and Rockwell-Republic.
The O∆K Foundation Board of Trustees will hold its official meetings on Sunday, June 19 while the rest of the attendees depart the region. I expect that there will be lots of tired, but I hope very happy and enthusiastic, members leaving town that day with great memories, expanded knowledge about leadership, and friendships that sustain a lifetime. Save the dates!