Fairfield University joins prestigious Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society


Joining the ranks of schools such as Wagner, William and Mary, Emory and Harding, Fairfield University is chartering an Omicron Delta Kappa chapter on campus. new members will be inducted on sunday, may 4th, at 2 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The public is welcome to attend.

Omicron Delta Kappa is the national leadership honor society for college students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni that recognizes and encourages superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character. the society recognizes achievement in five areas: scholarship; athletics; community service, religious activities, campus government; journalism, speech and mass media; and creative and performing arts. founded on dec. 3, 1914 at washington and lee university in lexington, virginia by 15 student and faculty leaders, Omicron Delta Kappa membership is a mark of the highest distinction and an honor that is recognized in both the academic and business worlds.

Of 125 applicants, 30 students, three alumni, and six faculty and staff members were selected for induction this year. Their membership links them with the likes of politicians, (George Bush, inducted 1997-Harding University, former President and Vice President of the United States); Pulitzer Prize winners, (Hodding Carter, inducted 1953-University of the South, Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editor and author); astronauts, (F. Story Musgrave, inducted 1984-University of Kentucky, NASA Astronaut in SKYLAB Program); and distinguished professors, (Cornel West, inducted 1998-Plattsburg State, Harvard Professor of African American History and Philosophy). Faculty members that currently serve are David McFadden, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the History Department and director of Russian and East European Studies; David Sapp, Ph.D., assistant professor of English; Aaron Seymour, assistant dean for Undergraduate Students in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business; and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Timothy Snyder, Ph.D.

Kelli Rainey, director of Student Activities and advisor within Omicron Delta Kappa, has been actively involved in bringing an Omicron Delta Kappa chapter to Fairfield University.

"I think the main purpose of this organization is not only to unite students but also to bring in faculty, staff, administrators and alumni for a common cause," said Rainey. "It's not necessarily something we lacked but it can help make the university stronger."

The charter process began during the fall of 2001 by student leaders who also worked on the constitution, a summary of requirements and bylaws, which the circle is to follow. Recruitment consisted of letters to faculty and staff for their nomination of eligible juniors and seniors. Student membership candidates must rank in the upper 35 percent of their class and must show leadership in at least one of the five areas. Membership is also extended to graduate students, faculty, staff administration, alumni and to persons qualifying for "honoris causa," achieving distinction in his or her chosen profession or rendering outstanding service through leadership. Fairfield recognizes the establishment of Omicron Delta Kappa on campus as a great opportunity for its students, in addition to other honor societies and the dean's list.

On more than 260 college campuses throughout the country, Omicron Delta Kappa is an organization that not only recognizes outstanding collegiate leadership, but encourages and fosters leadership through a variety of programs. Of the many programs to take place, the Fairfield chapter has initiated a Student Leadership Awards Ceremony in partnership with the Office of Student Activities, which is intended to run independently by the circle within a few years. The circle is also active in service projects such as the MS Walk for multiple sclerosis. For next year the circle is planning a Leadership Conference for student leaders on campus and extending that into a Leadership Conference for high school students, which would serve a double purpose: to get students involved in thinking about college and attract their attention to Fairfield University.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 29, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 285