UNO Chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa Welcomes New Members
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 high GPA."
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 members;
- 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 Arts International;
- 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.