Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2001-05-03

The Samford University chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) leadership honor society will observe its 50th anniversary by honoring 50 alumni "Leaders With Impact" Tuesday, May 8, at 10 a.m. in Reid Chapel. The public is invited.

The honorees were chosen because they live the values of ODK and Samford. All have earned Samford degrees during the past 50 years. ODK, which recognizes achievement in a variety of disciplines, emphasizes exemplary character, responsible leadership and service to society.

Guest speaker will be Aaron S. Williams, executive vice president of the International Youth Foundation, which supports youth projects worldwide. He is a former General Mills Corporation executive and U.S. State Department official.

While with the State Department, Williams was head of the Latin American Bureau and Executive Secretariat of the U.S. Agency for International Development. He later coordinated U.S. development activities with Nelson Mandela in South Africa to overcome the legacy of apartheid. There, he managed a $1 billion portfolio and a 140-person staff, coordinating economic assistance activities with some 200 government, business and nonprofit sector entities.

The 50 alumni Leaders With Impact represent a variety of professions and means of service. Some are nationally known for their achievements; others have worked quietly with little recognition beyond their local communities.

The chapter will also install nine student members and Samford President Thomas E. Corts as an honorary member.

Honorees represent 15 states, the District of Columbia, and Spain, Chile and Singapore.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.