September 3, 2013 - The Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Circle at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) was formally chartered at a ceremony on August 24, 2013, at the Cumberland Gap Convention Center in Cumberland Gap, Tenn. The Circle’s inaugural members were inducted as part of the ceremony.

ODK, the National Leadership Honor Society, was founded December 3, 1914, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., by 15 student and faculty leaders. The founders formulated the idea that leadership of exceptional quality and versatility in college should be recognized, that representatives in all phases of college life should cooperate in worthwhile endeavors, and that outstanding students, faculty and administrators should meet on a basis of mutual interest, understanding, and helpfulness. ODK was 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. Since its founding, Omicron Delta Kappa has initiated over 300,000 members. The Society recognizes achievement in the following five areas: scholarship; athletics, campus or community service, social or religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech and the mass media; and creative and performing arts.

Inductees into the inaugural class of LMU’s ODK Circle included undergraduate students Kristi Blaisdell, a business major from Barrington, Ill.; Dylan Burnett, a kinesiology major from Atoka, Tenn.; Clark DeBusk, a biology/pre-med major from New Tazewell, Tenn.; Tiffany Duncan, a communications major from LaFollette, Tenn.; Joshua Herring, a chemistry/biology major from Pennington Gap, Va.; Christine Hickman, an art major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Blake Houser, a biology major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Michelle Morales, a criminal justice major from Corryton, Tenn.; Hunter Slemp, a biology major from Dryden, Va.; and Sam Swarts, a business major from Owego, N.Y.

Graduate and professional students inducted included Kimberly Asher, a master of science in nursing student from Girdler, Ky.; Daniel Cissna, a master of business administration student from Knoxville, Tenn.; Lieven Cox, a master of business administration student from Harrogate, Tenn.; Robert Lawrence, a doctor of osteopathic medicine student from Memphis, Tenn.; and Sadril Mohammad, a master of medical sciences in physician assistant studies student from Knoxville, Tenn.

LMU faculty and staff members inducted included Bob Jackson, shuttle driver and reverend; Robert Sabbatini, dean of students; and Dr. John Copeland, professor of biology. Dr. Chris Yonts, associate professor family medicine at LMU-DCOM and director of the University Medical Clinic, was inducted as an alumni member of the Circle. Dr. Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk, chairman of the LMU Board of Trustees, was inducted as the Circle’s first honoris causa member, the Circle’s highest honor.

Special guests from the ODK national headquarters included Palmer Gene Vance, II, president of the ODK Foundation, and Andrew Cahoon, ODK fellow.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at

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Caption: The members of the inaugural class of LMU’s ODK circle pose with the platform party following the chartering and induction ceremony. Holding LMU’s ODK Circle charter are Palmer Gene Vance, II (L), president of the ODK Foundation, and Sam Swarts (R), president of LMU’s ODK Circle.

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