Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society, was founded December 3, 1914, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, by 15 student and faculty leaders. The founders formulated the idea that leadership of exceptional quality and versatility in college should be recognized, that representatives in all phases of college life should cooperate in worthwhile endeavors, and that outstanding students, faculty and administrators should meet on a basis of mutual interest, understanding and helpfulness. ODK® was the first college honor society of a national scope to give recognition and honor for meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities and to encourage development of general campus citizenship. Since its founding, Omicron Delta Kappa has initiated over 300,000 members. Alma’s circle was founded in 1967.
The purpose of the Omicron Delta Kappa Society is threefold:
- To recognize those who have attained a high standard of efficiency in collegiate activities and to inspire others to strive for conspicuous attainments along similar lines;
- To bring together the most representative students in all areas of collegiate life and create an organization which will help to mold the sentiment of the institution on question of local and intercollegiate interests; and
- To bring together members of the faculty and student body of the institution on a basis of mutual interest and understanding.
Membership in Omicron Delta Kappa is as much an obligation and responsibility in leadership as it is a mark of highest distinction and honor. Membership is awarded to undergraduate junior and senior students; to graduate students; to faculty, staff, administration and alumni; and to persons qualifying for membership “honoris causa.” Student membership candidates must rank in the upper 35 percent of their school or college and must show leadership in at least one of the five phases of campus life:
- Campus/Community Service, Social/Religious Activities, and Campus Government
- Journalism, Speech and the Mass Media
- Creative and Performing Arts