Wednesday, May 05, 2010

[455] ODK Honors Society Moves Forward with Membership

Release date: May 5, 2010

News & Public Affairs contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
ODK Honors Society contact: Laura Clippard, 615-898-5464 or

ODK Honors Society Moves Forward with Membership
50 Become Charter Members During April 30 Ceremony

(MURFREESBORO, TN) – The Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society has been approved to form a chapter at MTSU for students who have excelled in academics and leadership on campus.
Dr. John Vile, dean of the MTSU Honors College, said that about 10 years ago, President Sidney A. McPhee indicated that he wanted to bring a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, America’s oldest collegiate honor society, to campus.
Because of Phi Beta Kappa’s requirement that 10 percent of membership had to be faculty, and since MTSU had less than half of that required total, the university began looking at different alternatives.
“We began to look for comparable organizations that recognized students across disciplines,” Vile said.
Vile said that the university agreed that ODK, combined with the already established Honors Society of Phi Kappa Phi, was comparable to the prestige of PBK.
According to Vile, the university began proceedings to form a chapter a little over a year ago. First, organizers assembled the precursor to ODK, the MTSU Leadership Circle, which evolved from the Honors Student Association. The fledgling group then participated in a multitude of public-service activities.
Representatives from ODK then toured the MTSU campus. The act that carried the greatest weight, Vile said, was the final one—preparing a lengthy charter petition to send to the national headquarters at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky.
The organization’s chartering ceremony was held Friday, April 30, in the Tom Jackson Building.
Special Honoris and Alumni Inductees were The Honorable Bart Gordon, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, Murray Martin, Roy Martin and Brandi Michelle Snow. A combined 50 students, alumni, Honoris and previous ODK members from other organizations became MTSU ODK charter members.
Vile said that a student must either be a junior or senior in status, and they must have a minimum 3.25 grade point average. Students must also pay $70 national dues and $10 local dues.
The society looks at individuals who have proven themselves in five distinct areas: academics, athletics, campus or community/social/religious/ government services, journalism/publications/ speech/mass media, and the creative and performing arts. ODK awards points for student activities and accomplishments in any of these areas.
“We are looking for academic leaders,” Vile said, “We think it is appropriate that students who are gifted and who get scholarships and other support from the state and the university be willing to give back to both.”
Vile said that the university searches for students who meet the requirements, but any students who feel they are qualified for ODK also can let them know of their interest.
The first officers, who were in the Leaders Circle, will now charter the new chapter. Nathaniel F. Green, a senior political-science major, is ODK president; Merranda Holmes, a senior majoring in biology, is vice president; Shannon Murphy, another senior majoring in biology, is secretary; and Amanda Alexander, a senior economics and political-science major, is treasurer.
Murphy said that the organization honors and recognizes students’ achievements during their time at MTSU. “I think ODK is a very unique organization, because besides not only having to have a strong academic record, leadership in extracurricular activities is an essential part to becoming a member,” she added.
Holmes added that another important ODK benefit—one that helped convince her to join—was the ability to network and connect with other leaders on campus who are motivated and want to excel. She’s had positive experiences with other students who, even though they may not share the same major or field of interest, have helped her work toward her goal of becoming a physician.
Holmes also said that students who become members will have the opportunity to be nominated for multiple scholarships, have resume-building and study-abroad opportunities and even get member discounts for graduate-school preparation courses.
Students also will be able to work closely with faculty members who participate in ODK either by joining or becoming an adviser to the organization.
Vile, who became a member of ODK when he was an undergraduate student at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, said he is a faculty adviser, Honors College staff members Georgia Dennis and Marsha Powers also greatly assisted with the formation of ODK. Steven Chappell, MTSU’s Sidelines adviser, has also been a great help, Vile said, as have “many other faculty members [who] were inducted at their home institutions.”
For more information about ODK, contact Laura Clippard at or at 615-898-5464.

(Senior journalism major Elizabeth Warren of Jasper, Tenn., wrote this for the MTSU Office of News and Public Affairs. She is scheduled to graduate in May 2011.)


With three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and former faculty, Middle Tennessee State University confers master’s degrees in 10 areas, the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. MTSU is ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation in the Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2009 survey.

For MTSU news and information, go to

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