Mississippi College

Mississippi College Alumnus Bob Terry Promotes National Honor Society

July 10, 2014

Millions of fans embraced the Beatles during their first American concert tour. President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark 1964 civil rights bill into law. The latest James Bond movie “Goldfinger” was a smash hit at the box office a few months later.

The same year, 1964, Mississippi College junior Bob Terry attended the 50th anniversary of the national higher education honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa, in Virginia.

The editor of “The Alabama Baptist” newspaper since 1995, Dr. Terry also represented his alma mater in Clinton a half-century later at the organization’s 100th birthday celebration.

The Alabama native’s return trip to ODK’s birthplace, Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., was noted at the June convention by executive director Tara Springer and other leaders.

“It was really wonderful that he would be a delegate from Mississippi College at the 1964 and 2014 conventions,” Springer said in a phone interview. During its first 100 years, Omicron Delta Kappa has welcomed 278,000 people into its ranks from 290 colleges nationwide.

 The group represents top-achieving men and women with the highest standards. In many ways, Dr. Terry embodies the true spirit of ODK, she said.

Founded at Washington & Lee University with 15 students and faculty members, ODK today is the nation’s largest leadership honor society at campuses across the USA. Members have included such big names as Denver Broncos star quarterback Peyton Manning, who joined when he played for the University of Tennessee in 1997, TV journalist Cokie Roberts, and legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Peyton’s dad, former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints football star Archie Manning is also a member.

“I highly recommend ODK,” Terry says. He speaks volumes about the ability of Omicron Delta Kappa to build leadership skills and open doors for thousands of people throughout their lives. The only delegate in the room attending ODK’s 50th and 100th anniversary celebrations, Dr. Terry was elated to see the recognition come to Mississippi College. “I’m very gratified.”

A 1965 MC graduate, Terry earned his master’s in divinity and doctor of ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. An ordained minister, he served as editor of the Missouri Baptists’ “Word & Way” newspaper for two decades. “The Alabama Baptist” is the nation’s largest circulation Baptist newspaper.

Dr. Terry began his newspaper career at Mississippi College. He served as sports editor of “The Collegian,” and landed his first job as general news writer at the nation’s second oldest Baptist college. The Decatur, Alabama native also served as a senator in student government on the Clinton campus.

His wife, Pat, who chairs Samford University’s nutrition and dietetics program, joined him for the honors at the Omicron Delta Kappa convention. The couple drove to the June 11-15 meetings in Lexington after attending the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore.

Dr. Terry is a big proponent of an organization that’s enjoyed tremendous growth at Mississippi College since he was among four students first selected five decades ago.

With English professor Susan Lassiter serving as advisor, the Mississippi College chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa recognizes superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character. Membership is awarded to juniors and seniors, graduate students, faculty, staff, administration and alumni. During the 2013-14 academic year, the MC chapter saluted 43 new student ODK members.

MC's ODK chapter is a strong believer in community service. Last year, students "provided gifts and filled Christmas stockings for a low income housing project, and in the spring, members participated every weekend to build a Habitat home in Clinton,” Lassiter said.

An ODK adviser for 20 years, Lassiter is delighted students have used their leadership skills to serve Mississippi College, workplaces and communities. 

Photo: Tara Singer, executive director of ODK, and Bob Terry visit prior to the Awards Night Dinner during the Centennial Celebration of ODK held June 11-15, 2014 at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

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