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ODK celebrates 1st ‘True Blue Leadership Day’ Friday

Leadership qualities, the Centennial celebration and the “True Blue Pledge” all are major aspects of Middle Tennessee State University’s heritage.

Matthew Hibdon and the other officers and members of the Omicron Delta Kappa HonorsCircle aspire for MTSU students to expand that heritage by attending the first “ODK True Blue Leadership Day” on Friday. The Circle applied for and earned a $500 national Clay Grant award to support the event.

The event will be held in the University Honors College Amphitheater, which is Room 106 in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.  

The Omicron Delta Kappa True Blue Leadership Day highlights the core values of the “True Blue Pledge” by educating participants about multiple aspects of leadership, organizers said.

“We’re excited about this event,” said Hibdon, president of the 2-year-old MTSU unit of the national leadership honor society. “We wanted to do something special to highlight the Centennial and the True Blue Pledge. The pledge reinforces the University’s core values—‘Honesty and Integrity,’ ‘Respect for Diversity,’ ‘Engagement in the Community’ and ‘Commitment to Nonviolence’—that followed the death of Lady Raiders’ basketball player Tina Stewart in March 2011.

“It’s something people can identify with ODK, an annual event for ODK to continue the True Blue message beyond our Centennial year to last the next 100 years.”

Because seating will be limited, students should make reservations by calling 615-898-5645 or emailing mtsuodk@mtsu.edu. The general public also is welcome, but also needs to make reservations at the above number and email address.

Off-campus visitors should be aware that nearby construction will limit parking opportunities for the event. University Parking and Transportation officials are encouraging visitors to park in the South Rutherford Boulevard lot and ride the Raider Xpress shuttle into the campus core to reach the Honors College. A printable campus map is available at www.mtsu.edu/parking/Map_2011-2012.pdf.

Sessions have been timed to coincide with the University’s Friday schedule so that students may attend sessions around regular classes. To view the full schedule, visit http://frank.mtsu.edu/~mtsuodk/trueblueday.html.

MTSU academic leaders will join the guest speaker, Tennessee National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Terry “Max” Haston, to offer seven 55-minute sessions of interactive programs covering a wide variety of leadership skills and information.

Haston (B.S. ’79), a McMinnville native and active alumnus, will share “Lead or the View Never Changes” in Session 3. He supervises the Military Department of Tennessee, which includes the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the Tennessee State Guard.

Before his appointment to his current post, Haston served as assistant adjutant general-Army and the deputy chief of staff for training and operations/J-3 for the Tennessee Joint Force Headquarters. He served with the U.S. Army from 1979 to 1983 after he was commissioned from the MTSU ROTC program as an armor officer.

Following the 8 a.m. welcome by University Provost Dr. Brad Bartel, students will hear leadership-inspired messages from:

Dusty Doddridge of the MTSU Career Development Center;

Heather Arrington of the University College Advising Center;

Jackie Victory of MTSU Office of Leadership and Service;

Dr. Deana Raffo of the Department of Management and Marketing;

Dr. David Foote of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business and MTSU Institute of Leadership Excellence; and

William Respess of the University’s Department of Human Resource Services.

Hibdon, who is a senior from McMinnville majoring in history and minoring in leadership studies who plans to graduate with honors from MTSU on May 5, will offer closing remarks.

ODK is sponsored by the University Honors College. Honors Dean John Vile serves as adviser, and Georgia Dennis is staff secretary. Other ODK officers include Jennifer Johnson, vice president; Laurence Tumpag, project coordinator; andKaitlin Beck secretary.

MTSU’s ODK Circle is actively seeking new members. Juniors and seniors are eligible for initiation, and sophomores are eligible to be part of the Squire program.

University President Sidney A. McPhee is an ODK member. ODK faculty and staff members include Bartel and Arrington; former provost Dr. Kaylene Gebert; Mass Communication Dean Roy Moore; Dr. Philip Phillips, English professor and interim Honors College associate dean; and Dr. Jim Williams, director of the Albert Gore Research Center.