Today, as at other times in America’s past, there is a significant need and desire to bring together leaders with differing viewpoints, skills, talents, and resources to address community, national, and global concerns. The recent political season has led many of us to engage in conversations about the importance of collaborative leadership. Indeed, our Omicron Delta Kappa circles must continue their mission to convey the importance of collaboration and the significance of our values of scholarship, service, character, integrity, and fellowship.
We’re proud to report that there are currently nine Omicron Delta Kappa U.S. senators and 15 representatives serving in Congress. Justice Amy Coney Barrett is a 1993 collegiate initiate of the Rhodes College Circle. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is a 1981 alumni initiate of the University of Delaware Circle. The National Headquarters recently informed these individuals of their shared membership in our Society and expressed the hope that they would work collaboratively with one another. Please check out this webpage for a listing.
This academic year has presented numerous challenges for the students, faculty, and staff at the institutions that host Omicron Delta Kappa’s circles. However, many circles held virtual initiation ceremonies in the fall semester and others have initiations planned for the spring. From March to May, the National Headquarters is sponsoring five joint virtual initiation ceremonies, each providing remarks from a distinguished member. These speakers include Maurice Jones (Hampden-Sydney College, 1984), president and CEO of Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Val Ackerman (University of Virginia, 1979), commissioner of the Big East; Rick Bright (Auburn University Montgomery, 1996), renowned immunologist and presidential advisor on the COVID-19 crisis; Monica Pearson (Emory University, 1995), noted former news anchor; and Kelly Evans (Washington and Lee University, 2007), co-anchor of CNBC’s The Exchange.
Throughout the summer and fall semesters, the Society has worked with RISE Partnerships on developing O∆K’s next strategic plan. First, an extensive set of focus group meetings were held, followed by extensive task force discussions. In early March, the Board of Trustees will convene to finalize the proposed plan, which is intended to guide our organization through the end of FY 2024. Once the plan is approved, it will be shared with the membership for additional input on potential tactics to help achieve the stated goals and objectives.
Why not consider registering for our 2021 National Leadership Conference, scheduled for April 8-10? Given the current public health situation, this year’s conference will be held online, so you can easily join us. Keynote speakers include Jill Tiefenthaler (Wake Forest University, 2010), CEO of the National Geographic Society, and Rick Bright (see above). The registration fee is $25 for collegiate members, $35 for current advisors and active Society volunteers, and $50 for all other lifetime members. It’s a great value, plus it includes the opportunity to participate in a personal success workshop provided by True Colors International.
Please enjoy reading about additional Omicron Delta Kappa updates below.
Former U.S. Senator and President of Christopher Newport University (CNU) Paul Trible has been selected as the 2021 Laurel Crowned Circle Award winner. Senator Trible will be honored during a program at CNU, as well as during a virtual awards program, later this year.
Nominations are now open for the Society’s service awards and other honors. General information about our awards program may be found at this link. I especially invite you to consider nominating distinguished members for one of the Pillars of Leadership Awards.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity
Since July, our Society has done much to affirm its commitment to be a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization. I encourage you to read the report of Moneque Walker-Pickett (University of Miami, 1994), O∆K’s inaugural National Diversity Officer. In addition to creating the NDO position and creating online diversity resources for members and circles, the Society has also established scholarships and additional gifts of membership for students from historically underrepresented and marginalized populations.
The COVID-19 crisis continues to have an impact on membership. It is expected that no more than 5,500 individuals will join O∆K this year. The Society has secured another forgivable loan from the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program to help cover expenses. We hope to hold onto the $300,000 line of credit to be used for programmatic investments as identified by the strategic plan. The positive financial news is that with contributions and earnings, the Society’s endowment reached the $2.4 million mark at the end of calendar 2020.
National Day of Giving and Campaign Progress
The annual fund goal for this fiscal year is $180,000. These dollars will be especially important, as the pandemic has negatively impacted the Society’s initiation numbers. Our 2021 O∆K National Day of Giving will be held on Thursday, May 6, and I hope you will personally take this opportunity to add your support. Last year’s effort was a tremendous success, and we are certainly counting on volunteers like you to once again help us achieve this year’s goal.
The comprehensive campaign total is working its way toward the amount necessary to go public with the campaign. To date, more than $3.87 million has been raised. If you would like to contribute, please contact President/CEO Tara Singer at [email protected] or (540) 458-5340.
The University of Minnesota – Duluth Circle held its virtual chartering ceremony on October 21, 2020. The Wilson College Circle was installed on November 11, 2020. Piedmont College and Talladega College will be holding their virtual chartering ceremonies later this spring.
Even though the past year has been a challenge, I am genuinely grateful for all that our members continue to do to support O∆K. If you have any interest in becoming further involved, please let me know. You may contact me at [email protected]. Thank you again for all that you do for our leadership organization.
Yours in O∆K,
Sally K. Albrecht (Rollins College, 1975)
Chair, Board of Trustees
Omicron Delta Kappa Society and Educational Foundation, Inc.