The last two academic years have seen the college and university campuses that host circles of Omicron Delta Kappa face significant challenges. With changing demographics and the pandemic’s lingering financial and societal impacts, the need for organizations that promote and embrace shared civic values remains crucial to the well-being of our country. Thank you for your continued interest in our Society and your own investments in the development of the collegiate leaders of today so that they may become the community leaders of tomorrow.
As the new Board Chair, I am pleased to report on the progress made by the Society over the last academic and fiscal year.
- For the first time since 2018, the members of our Society gathered for an in-person National Leadership Conference. The 2022 NLC was held in Lexington, Kentucky. It was attended by more than 160 individuals who had the opportunity to hear from three keynote speakers and participate in the more than 20 workshops offered. The 2023 NLC will be held during the fall term in Atlanta, Georgia.
- A total of three new circles were installed during the most recent academic year. The Society was pleased to welcome High Point University, Lamar University, and Bethany College (West Virginia) to our community of circles. Three other institutions are planning installation ceremonies in the upcoming academic year.
- Forty-nine students have been selected to receive more than $69,000 in scholarship funds that have been contributed in recent years. This group of scholarship recipients is the largest in the Society’s history.
- Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates (William & Mary, 2015) is the 2022 recipient of the Laurel Crowned Circle Award recipient. Secretary Gates will be honored at an event on the campus of William & Mary on Thursday, December 8.
- Renovations have been completed at the Johnson Center for Leadership and O∆K National Headquarters. A formal rededication ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 5, to celebrate the generosity of Joyce and Rich Johnson (University of Richmond, 2005) and that of the other donors who have supported the enhancement and preservation of this historic facility.
- The 2022 National Day of Giving was the most successful giving day yet. A total of $38,339 in new dollars was raised, and the effort helped acquire 50 first-time donors. Donations from members of the University of Louisville Circle topped the leader board for dollars given. The Christopher Newport University Circle was the top contributing circle.
- Other successful fundraising initiatives were completed throughout the year, and O∆K is getting close to achieving the goal of raising $5.6 million in our first-ever comprehensive campaign effort. The campaign will conclude on June 30, 2023, and $469,412 is needed to reach the campaign goal. If you would like to participate in the campaign, please contact President and Chief Executive Officer Tara Singer (firstname.lastname@example.org or 540/458-5340). Details about the campaign initiatives and fundraising priorities may be found at https://odk.org/campaign/.
- The Society has acquired a new Membership Engagement Platform (MEP). This system will facilitate connections between members and allow individuals to determine the types and frequency of communications they wish to receive from the Society. In early 2023, please be on the lookout for information from the National Headquarters about joining our online community.
While I am happy to share this good news, I would be remiss if I didn’t also share some of the challenges facing Omicron Delta Kappa. Membership in FY 2022 did not reach the projected and budgeted levels. In response, the National Headquarters is not filling two positions at this time. However, the Society is continuing to expand investments in supporting circle advisors and officers through campus visits, virtual webinars and resources, and the 2023 Circle Advisor Training Workshop (CATW). The market’s current fluctuations have caused the value of our endowment to drop to $2.3 million. Unless the market recovers by the end of the year, the number of scholarship dollars available heading into the 2023-24 academic year may be reduced from this year’s amount.
As the new Board Chair, I look forward to further working toward the goals and objectives outlined by our strategic plan (https://odk.org/strategic-plan/) and addressing our challenges with my fellow trustees and officers. Peter Christiaans (University of Miami, 1993) has been selected as board-chair elect. Immediate Past Board Chair Willie Banks (University of Georgia, 2002) will continue to serve as the head of the Board Nominations Committee. Peter and Willie are also chairing the search for the Society’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. We hope to announce this new leader in April 2023, prior to the retirement of current President/CEO Tara Singer (University of Louisville, 1981) next June.
Brian Hager (Washington and Lee University, 2004, Jessica McClain (Towson University, 2004), and Moneque Walker-Pickett (University of Miami, 1994) will serve in their respective roles as national counsel, national treasurer, and national diversity officer. Mary Stuart (University of Virginia, 2019) is now serving as national student vice chair. Michelle Burke (University of South Carolina – Columbia, 1997) is the 2023 National Leadership Conference Chair. Several other new trustees include Suzanne Crandall (Chapman University, 1998), Sheridan Henson (Cumberland University, 2008), Paula Marino (Auburn University, 1992), Angelique Mevorah (St. John’s University, 2021), Maureen Morgan (Marietta College, 1992), Caroline Sangal (University of Akron, 1997), Cheryl Waide (Campbell University, 1999), and Keith Wysocki (University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 2004). Profiles of all of our trustees are on the website (https://odk.org/about-odk/leadership/board-trustees/).
Thank you for all you do and have done for Omicron Delta Kappa through the years. Your support of our organization – as an advisor, advocate, donor, or other volunteer – helps sustain and strengthen our Society. If you would like to share your thoughts or concerns about O∆K, please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com.
It is always a pleasure to connect with members, and I will look forward to hearing your ideas.
Yours in Leadership,
Sandra B. Thurmond (University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1987)
Chair, Board of Trustees
Omicron Delta Kappa Society and Educational Foundation, Inc.