Lexington, Virginia • January 30, 2010
Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society that was founded at Washington and Lee University in 1914, will be returning to its birthplace later this year when the national headquarters is relocated to Lexington, Va.
ODK plans to move into the historic Lexington train station on Nelson Street this summer once the organization's purchase of the building from W&L is completed.
"We are excited at the prospect of moving the ODK national headquarters to Lexington," said Thomas G. Goodale, the organization's executive director. "This move permits us to return to the place where ODK was founded just as we are beginning to plan for the 100th anniversary of our founding in 2014."
The relocation will also represent the first time in its history that ODK has had a headquarters facility of its own. Most recently it had operated out of facilities on campuses at the University of Kentucky and currently Transylvania University, both in Lexington, Ky.
"The decision by ODK to return to its roots here at Washington and Lee is wonderful news," said W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio. "We look forward to welcoming the national headquarters to Lexington and to continuing our historic relationship with the society."
Membership in ODK is regarded as one of the highest honors that a college student can receive. The society has chapters, known as circles, on more than 320 college campuses around the country. Membership is awarded to undergraduate junior and senior students; to graduate students; to faculty, staff, and administration; alumni; and to persons qualifying for membership "honoris causa." Students who are elected, or tapped, for membership must rank in the upper 35 percent in scholarship in their respective institutions and must show leadership in at least one of five phases of campus life: scholarship; athletics; campus or community service, social and religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech, and the mass media; and, creative and performing arts.
ODK alumni range from Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to secretary of state Hillary Clinton to singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. Washington and Lee alumni who are members of ODK include former national broadcaster Roger Mudd, the late Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., and former New York Stock Exchange president William R. Johnston.
The Lexington train station was purchased by W&L in 1971 and has most recently been used to house the Facilities Management offices. Facilities management will move its offices to the old Rockbridge County courthouse.