Thursday, December 5, 2013
UNO Chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa Welcomes New Members
Omicron Delta Kappa is a national leadership honor society wherein members exemplify
both leadership and scholarship. A chapter in ODK is known as a "circle."
The ODK circle at UNO was founded on March 26, 1971. Membership dwindled following
Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 and for the past five years leaders have been
rebuilding the organization on campus. More than 90 students applied this semester
to the elite honors society and 28 were ultimately accepted, bringing membership to
New members were inducted at a special ceremony last month at the Innsbruck Room in
the University Center. Friends and family attended the special event.
Kevin Graves, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, served as keynote speaker.
ODK presented Graves with the UNO Legacy Award, a new award the honors a faculty or
staff member who helps to develop young leaders on campus.
ODK presented an Outstanding Faculty Award to UNO History Professor Andrew Goss...
and Psychology Professor Gilda Reed.
New members signed an official book as they received their certificates...
and honor cords they will wear around their necks at commencement.
"We like to think of ourselves as the top of the top," said president Vincent Prior.
"...We're looking for the best leaders. We're looking for people who have really high
GPAs. We're not just looking for people who excelled in school. They have extracurriculars
Twenty-nine movers and shakers from the University of New Orleans recently joined
a national honor society that is carefully rebuilding its circle at the University
since Hurricane Katrina.
"We like to think of ourselves as the top of the top," said undergraduate student
and Omicron Delta Kappa chapter president Vincent Prior. "These are the students who
hold leadership positions across campus organizations and they also maintain a really
The UNO chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society was installed
at UNO on March 26, 1971 and enjoyed a healthy membership until the failure of federal
levees following Hurricane Katrina upended everyday life at the University, Prior
said. For the past four years, UNO leaders have carefully worked to rebuild the honor
society, which now has a membership of approximately 60. Ninety students applied for
membership this semester, said Prior. The 29 students accepted were inducted in November
at a ceremony held in the University Center ballroom.
"It's a really intense process actually. We're looking for the best leaders. We're
looking for people who have really high GPAs. We're not just looking for people who
excelled in school. They have extracurriculars as well," said Prior.
Members are student leaders who exemplify leadership in at least three of the five
pillars recognized by the national organization: scholarship; athletics; campus or
community service; social or religious activities and campus government; journalism,
speech and the mass media; and creative and performing arts, Prior said.
"ODK members are truly the best of the best when it comes to student leadership and
by joining our ranks, you are continuing our tradition of excellence," said Prior.
"Most ODK members hold leadership roles in other organizations around campus. We're
also an honor society."
Current members include:
- a council member for the curriculum and pedagogy group;
- a full-time promotions producer at WGNO / WNOL in New Orleans;
- the current treasurer and a past president of the UNO Ambassadors, as well as current
- active members of the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Psi, the UNO Leadership Cabinet, Golden Key
International Honor Society and Alpha Epsilon Delta;
- the current Leadership Intern for Chi Sigma Iota International Honor Society;
- the chair of the Graduate Student Committee of both the Louisiana Counseling Association
and the American Counseling Association, as well as other active members;
- the current president, vice president and service chair of Kappa Delta Epsilon Education
Honors Society; active members of Tri- Beta, Phi Kappa Phi, the UNO Association of
Computing Machinery, Phi Alpha Theta and the Junior League of New Orleans;
- the current secretary and graduate student representative of the Mid-South Educational
Research Association, as well as other current members;
- Pontchartrain Hall resident assistants, UNO Orientation Leaders, a UNO NCAA Division
1 cheerleader, University Success Peer Mentors and the Vice President of Tau Beta
Pi Engineering Honor Society;
- a 5th degree Black Belt and Certified Taekwondo Instructor with Tiger Rock Marital
- the program operations manager for WhoData.org;
- active Members of Pi Gamma Mu, Psi Chi, the Health Care Management Association, Sigma
Iota Epsilon, and Pi Sigma Alpha;
- the graduate student adviser for the Transfer Student Organization, Tau Sigma National
Honor Society for Transfer Students, and Hearts for the ARTS; a Mount Carmel Academy
Alumnae Association Board Member; the Coach of the UNO Dance Team; and
- current presidents of the Graduate Student Association of Chemistry, Kappa Alpha Theta
New Orleans Alumnae Chapter, Tau Sigma National Honor Society, the UNO Campus Beautification
Club and Psi Chi: The International Honor Society in Psychology.
The honor society has both active and inactive members. Active members are rewarded
for maintaining membership on an honor society committee, attending one meeting a
month and doing a service project with the honor society or completing four hours
of community service, Prior said. This year, ODK's service projects had members volunteering
at the Audubon Zoo's annual "Boo at the Zoo" event and Children's Hospital.
This year, the ODK circle at UNO honored three faculty. Kevin Graves, interim dean
of the College of Liberal Arts, received the UNO Legacy Award, an award the circle
plans to give each semester to a faculty or staff member who promotes leadership among
student groups on campus. Graves served as keynote speaker at the induction ceremony.
The circle also proffered two Outstanding Faculty Awards, which went to UNO Psychology
Professor Gilda Reed and UNO History Professor Andrew Goss.
Graduate student Lori Whalen, who is pursuing a Master's degree in Healthcare Management,
received an award for being the circle's Most Active Member.
The circle also recognized graduating seniors with honor cords they will wear around
their necks at commencement.