ODK honor society adds 20 new members

ODK honor society adds 20 new members

MTSU alumnus Phil Williams, an investigative reporter for WTVF-TV in Nashville, was among 20 initiates inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society Nov. 30.

Williams, a Columbia, Tenn., native who graduated in 1985, was added to the MTSU College of Mass Communication Wall of Fame in 2003. He completed his thesis, “Dissent in a Free Society,” during Dr. Ron Messier’s tenure as honors program director, and Messier was Williams’ thesis adviser.

Williams is the winner of two George Foster Peabody Awards, the George Polk Award for TV Reporting, a National Headliner Award and a 2012 Alfred I DuPont-Columbia Award for excellence in local reporting.

The ceremony, which took place in Room 106 of the university’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building, welcomed a total of 20 students, faculty and staffers into the organization.

New inductees for MTSU’s Omicron Delta Kappa honor society pose for a group photo at their Nov. 30 ceremony. From left on the front row are Jonathan Herlan, Rachel Lee, Tyler Whitaker, Kayla McNabb, Sarah Beth Gray-Panesi, Chelsea Fleet, Dr. Charlene True, Ashley Sweeton, Dr. Deb Sells and Circle Squire Joseph Thompson. The back row includes, from left, Phil Williams, Jared Adams, Victoria Warenik, Nathan Phelps, Marques Fulford, Tyler King and Jacob Verhoeff. Inductees not pictured are Natasha Gerstenschlager, Jonathan Murray and Michael Ripley and faculty member Dr. Deana Raffo. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

“Our students epitomize the best among student leaders on campus,” said ODK faculty adviser Georgia Dennis, who is events coordinator for the University Honors College. “I think we have the cream of the crop.”

New faculty initiates include Dr. Debra Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services; Dr. Deana Raffo, an assistant professor of management; and Dr. Charlene True, an associate professor of educational leadership.

Michael Giles Jr., an ODK Foundation trustee and Nashville-based marketing manager for the Pedigree and Cesar brands of pet food produced by Mars Inc., served as the Challenge Speaker, issuing the new members’ marching orders for success in life.

Special guest Michael Giles Jr. offers words of advice as the Challenge Speaker for the fall 2012 induction ceremony of MTSU’s Omicron Delta Kappa honor society.

Omicron Delta Kappa, founded in 1914 and now 300,000 members strong, is “the first college honor society of a national scope to give recognition and honor for meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities and to encourage development of general campus citizenship,” according to its website,

The society recognizes achievement in the areas of scholarship; athletics; journalism, speech and the mass media; creative and performing arts; and campus/community service, social/religious activities and campus government.

For more information, contact Dennis at 615-898-5645 or

— Gina K. Logue (