After the ringing of a bell, students in black robes enter the room ready to admit a member of the university into their esteemed organization: Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Society.
Throughout October, 37 new members, including both faculty and staff members, were tapped into ODK. ODK secretly entered classrooms and student meetings with their signature entrance to admit those who qualified. Members wore black robes to symbolize academic honors and ring the historical bell that was donated from a Navy ship.
To be considered for one of the highest distinctions and honors at UM, inductees have to be nominated by their peers.
“People submit their peers based on the criteria of the ideals of ODK,” ODK President Perihan Elbadrawi said. “Someone of good character, strong leader, dedicated to democratic ideal. They are nominated on one of five areas and their GPA must be in the top 35 percent.”
These five areas are scholarship, athletics, campus (community) service and campus government, journalism and creative and performing arts.
More often than not, prospective members do not know that they were nominated and will be just as surprised when ODK members arrive to announce the initiation.
“It’s a rewarding experience,” said Elbadrawi, a senior majoring in economics, political science and international studies. “When we come in to tap them in, we see their faces light up.”
A national leadership honor society, ODK recognizes any student, faculty, staff, administrator or alumni who has superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character.
A staple organization of the university, ODK’s tradition has been recognized and respected by the Canes since 1949. Founders include former UM presidents Bowman Ashe and Jay Pearson, who helped to establish the honor society and make it one of the university’s Homecoming traditions.
As such, the famed ringing of the bell will open the ceremonies of Homecoming on Oct. 30.
Not only an honor society, the 67-member network also serves as an intersection point for student leaders.
“Our goal is to provide a network, both through current students and alumni in our University of Miami circle,” Elbadrawi said. “We want to create a good support system for student leaders.”
Featured image courtesy UM Omicron Delta Kappa