Leadership honor society inducts 38 members

Amye Buckley

During a ceremony Sunday, 38 new members joined the ranks of the more than 400 Missouri Southern past and present members of Omicron Delta Kappa, national leadership honor society.

The students were honored for their ideals, volunteer service, high grade-point averages and their college and professional associations.

Dr. Glenn Coltharp, dean of the school of education, praised the initiates.

“You are more than just a smart person,” Coltharp said. “You have more than just book smarts, you are a true leader.”

Among the new members added to the group was Dr. Vikki Spencer, professor of teacher education.

She was honored for her leadership of student organizations, developing travel opportunities, and her role as founding member in several professional organizations and as a board member of others.

Family and friends came to celebrate with the students.

“I’m very proud,” said Shelia Lewis, a Southern graduate and Joplin resident.

Lewis came to see her nephew, David, initiated into ODK.

Several members of the Lewis family currently attend Southern and another family member teaches here.

“We love this university,” she said.

David Lewis feels his involvement in ODK is a testament to his dedication and looks forward to the future.

“I am excited about working with Dr. Freeman and Dr Garoutte,” David Lewis said. “To make ODK a more active and more well-known organization in Southern.”

Not all the initiates were local. Sarah Johnson, a research associate for Southern’s Small Business Development Center, attended the ceremony to support international students Mariya Gavrilova of Bulgaria and Iulia Nastasa from Romania.

“They’re like my other daughters.” Johnson said.

Gavrilova, junior marketing major, says she has difficulty explaining honors organizations to her family at home but she is still excited to be involved.

“It is a great opportunity for students to be recognized,” Gavrilova said. “And realize what they have achieved what they can achieve really is a lot.”

“We have selected a group of campus leaders,” said Dr. Michael Garoutte, professor of physical science and faculty adviser for the group. He believes that these students will contribute to both the University and the community.

Dr. Elaine Freeman, professor of education and the group’s faculty secretary, also thinks service and leadership vision are key to ODK and she believes in the society members.

“I think it really illustrates what’s going right in this country.” Freeman said.