Chapter History

Chapter 15 (Omicron Chapter)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Note: The following information was taken from the Diamond Jubilee Booklet prepared for the 75th anniversary of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chapter (1914-1989). Many thanks to Past President Charles Godwin for providing a copy of the booklet.

Quick Links:

Chapter's Beginnings Charter Members
The 20's The 30's
The 40's The 50's
The 60's The 70's
The 80's The 90's

Chapter's Beginnings

Each of us can recall from the initiation ceremony that Phi Delta Kappa was founded as a national fraternity in 1906 through the merging of groups at Indiana University, Columbia University and the University of Missouri.

Dean Fordyce, a member of Beta Chapter contacted the National Council for the establishment of a Nebraska Chapter. In the early part of May, 1914, Dean received word that the National Council had passed favorably upon the application.

On June 12, 1914, Dean Fordyce, under the authorization of the National Council, installed the Omicron Chapter. The installation ceremonies took place in the faculty room on second floor of the Temple Building. Seven men were "all initiated and inducted into membership in the correct form."


Charter Members

Charles Fordyce, Dean of Teachers College, University of Nebraska.
Charles Kennedy Morse, Superintendent of Schools, Nelson, Nebraska.
Albert Alison Reed, Inspector Accredited Schools, Professor Secondary Schools, University of Nebraska.
Walter Wiles Stoner, Superintendent of Schools, York, Nebraska.
Charles William Taylor, Professor, School Administration, Principal Teachers College High School, University of Nebraska.
Charles Eldon Teach, Supervising Principal, Orange Public Schools, Orange, California.
Vivian Lewis Stickland, Graduate Student, Columbia University.

Few principles of Phi Delta Kappa were understood at the time of the installation of Omicron Chapter. During those first years it was not uncommon to find men who were uncertain as to whether they were being honored by being invited to join. This was a period when the National Organization was also struggling to find itself. It is noted that the chapter evolved through and out of times of uncertainty into a position where every man recognized the honor conferred upon him by being invited to join.

The ideals of the first seven men continued to be uppermost. The themes for the early meetings included:

1916­ "Higher professional standards; promote educational research."

1916­ "Cooperation between the people in the field and students in the University. Place education, as a profession, on a higher plane and encourage educational research."

1917­ "Educational research and the development of leadership was fostered."

1918­ "It appeared that one of the chief aims of the chapter was for a more adequate organization of the members as a group."

The terrors of war and its consequences were bound to have their effects upon organizations and weaken the effectiveness of the members.


The Twenties

20sThe aim and ideals of the Chapter during this time were altogether the same in every respect as were the aims, ideals and purposes of the former years: service, research and leadership. Every activity of the chapter was decided upon in conformity of these ideals.

The general plan was to introduce more of a serious element into meetings, which included initiation ceremonies.

Various types of meetings were held that consisted of business, initiations, banquets, luncheons and social get-togethers. A banquet was held annually, usually at the close of the year. "Ladies' Night" was a feature of the annual banquet. Luncheons were provided in connection with various meetings of the Nebraska State Education Teachers' Convention.

The membership of the Omicron Chapter in February 1924 was a total of 150* members, of which 47 lived in Lincoln or vicinity.


The Thirties

30sGayle Childs, who joined in 1934, stated that initiation fees were $15 then. However, $15 for a science teacher whose salary was between $900-$1200 per year was 1.5% of one year's pay. He further calculated that compared to an average teacher's salary today of $21,000, dues would amount to $262.

Gayle Childs provided a reminiscence of a chapter meeting and his initiation in July, 1934:

"This was the initiation meeting at which I became a member of PDK. Invitation to membership was based on recommendations of faculty or PDK members, completion of a set number of hours in graduate level education courses and a grade average among the upper levels of graduate students. Prior to the July meeting, candidates for membership were required to select one side of a controversial issue in education and prepare a paper defending that position. The paper was to be presented in proper form with footnotes, proper punctuation, and a bibliography. The paper was to be submitted to the PDK office 10 days prior to the chapter meeting to allow time for it to be checked for proper form. The meeting was held in the park at Seward, Nebraska, on the banks of the Blue River. Each prospective initiate was subjected to an oral examination before a committee of examiners made up of Phi Delta Kappans and faculty members. This was not a mock exercise but was conducted in all seriousness. The experience was useful to me because it was the first time I had prepared a paper in thesis or publication form and it was very helpful to me in the future. An initiation followed the oral examination. Professor Congdon, who had recently served as treasurer of the fraternity and a member of the International Board of Directors, spoke on the structure, function and program of PDK. Dean Henzlik spoke briefly about the responsibility of members of PDK as a select group of educators. A steak fry completed the day's activities."

Paul Witt was invited to join PDK during the summer of 1934, but he had to wait a year until he could afford the $15 initiation fee.

The following is taken from an announcement of an initiation meeting: March, 1935, a fine class of initiates will "Ride the Goat." Come and enjoy the program. Initiation dinner costs $.40.

Each candidate gave a short autobiography of grade school training, secondary training and college training experience.

Royce Knapp, elected to membership in 1939 never forgot his initiation. Knapp was so impressed that the dean, the superintendent of the Lincoln Public Schools, the commissioner of education and all the principals of Class A schools were present at the ceremony.

A regularly scheduled meeting was held at the Student Union building with 22 members present. Dr. H.E. Wise presided. Remarks of welcome to summer school students were made by Director R.D. Moritz.

The following charter members were present: C.K. Morse, A.A. Reed and Charles Taylor. They recounted experiences of the founding and the development of the Chapter and of Phi Delta Kappa.

During the business meeting a motion was made by W.H. Morton to the effect that the Chapter go on record as opposed to the proposed amendment to change "white male" to "male" students. Affirmative 32, negative 2.


The Forties

40sThe chapter required an oral examination in which prospective candidates responded to questions. Voting members used a white ball or a black ball to determine eligibility. The black ball was a vote against the candidate who could not be asked for membership.

From an excerpt from Omicron News, "The last few years have brought world shaking changes and with them have come changes here at Omicron. Quite a number of our faculty are now in the service and a lot of old faces are missing. Some of the "old guard" however, are still trying to hold down the fort and new faces continue to make their appearance."
R.L. Fredstrom

Program themes reflected the impact that World War II had on school issues:

Schools' Responsibility in National Defense
Lectures on the Small School Movement
Brief History and Development of School Movements
Improvement of Small School Techniques and Materials
The Small School in War Emergency
The Small School in a National Emergency
"Uncle Sam has his arm around me and I am afraid I shall not be on hand by October 28, 1942 for the Small School Lectures."
Leo P. Black, President

Due to the fact that a sizeable army contingent was housed in the new library and was fed at the student union, it was impossible to arrange for dinner meetings during the year. Meetings were held in the evening, and the chapter was pleased with the attendance, August, 1944.

Other program topics during this period which continued to reflect the times:

  • The Status of the Public Schools in Nebraska during the '43-'44 School Term. (The numerous problems confronting schools during the war emergency due to the shortage of qualified teachers.)
  • Religion in the Army.
  • Treatment of German people following their Capitulation to the Allies.
  • Problems that were uppermost in the minds. of the armed forces; race questions, infidelity of women in wartime, treatment of war prisoners, labor questions, lend-lease, international questions, inequality and demobilization.

October 1944, was the first time a black person was allowed to participate in the program.

A.R. Congdon, former president of Omicron Chapter, who was retiring from active work at UNL, was presented with a book on July 25, 1945.

On May 19, 1946, tribute was paid to Professor Allen Congdon who had passed away.

The first fall meetings were buffet luncheons which preceded the Nebraska football games. Accounts were given on the current football situations at the University of Nebraska.

The Chapter newsletter was titled "Omicron News." Many newsletters were not published due to the problems of keeping an accurate mailing list.


The Fifties

50sInitiation ceremonies were very impressive. They were held in the Student Union. Initiates were led single file, blindfolded into the room. A longer version was used which included music as the candidates were led through the valley.

An event which affected the local chapter perhaps more than any other was the policy decision of January 1950. Willard Nelson represented Omicron Chapter 15 as a delegate to the Biennial Council in 1949. Gayle Childs attended as an alternate. They had the distinct impression that delegates who had experience at prior council meetings could more effectively influence decision-making at Biennial Council meetings and hold district and fraternity level offices. In a report to the chapter in January the two recommended that Omicron Chapter adopt a policy of sending the same delegate to subsequent council meetings. The policy was adopted.

The Chapter's themes for programs portrayed the impact of television in school curriculum:

Nebraska in School Television Correspondence Study Programs

Emphasis was also placed on "What Makes a Good School."

What is a good elementary school?

What is a good junior high school?

What is a good senior high school?

What teaching aids should be used in a good school?

What is a good junior college?

A meeting scheduled for March 1959, at the Lincoln Air Force Base was cancelled at the last minute because the base was put on alert. Members were to have lunched with Air Force personnel responsible for the Base Training Program. Nevertheless, over 30 members went through the Union cafeteria line to have a short business meeting.

President's Reflections

1964-65 Max Poole: "Because of lack of communication, we felt some type of publication was in order to keep informed. Suggestions were invited to help us improve the newsletter. It is our present thinking that the newsletter will be published quarterly if interest justifies. It was titled the Phi Delta Kappa, UN., Omicron Chapter Newsletter."

1967-68 Norbert J. Schuerman: "Our Chapter participation in PDK programs this past summer was excellent. A committee has been formulated to study the possibility of purchasing robes for our Chapter initiations. Russell McCreight and Jim O'Hanlon are committee members."

1968-69 Jim Rakers: "The interest and cooperation demonstrated again this past year and summer by the excellent participation in PDK programs is certainly a tribute to the vitality and significance of our University Chapter."

1969-70 Frank Masek: "It seems that our chapter does provide leadership and service. The third objective of the fraternity, research seems to be the least of our efforts."


The Sixties

60sTraditionally, Omicron Chapter had been a campus chapter with most of the member participation by campus personnel. An attempt was made to involve public schools, state department of education and adjacent communities to put new life in Omicron activities. Several meetings were held in-off campus situations.

In the early 60s the Chapter's newsletter was titled "Kernels and Kornshucks."

On December 27-30, 1963, Omicron Chapter served as host to the Biennial Council which met at the Nebraska Continuing Education Center. The Chapter's participation in the event included sponsoring and serving as host of the reception as well as participation in one luncheon and two dinners.

A Latin American Conference sponsored by PDK Omicron Chapter and the International Chapter at the Nebraska Center for Continuing Education was held on May 21, 1965. The one day conference included initiation of new members. The conference was made possible by a $500 grant from the Commission of International Relations in Education, which was matched by $500 appropriated by the local chapter. Delbert Holbrook, Rex Reckewey and Erwin Goldenstein planned the conference.

A majority of the programs centered around federal and state legislation which impacted education programs specifically concerned about Nebraska's share of the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 and the new Job Corp Center in Lincoln.

On June 28, 1967, the meeting focused on the University of Omaha and the University of Nebraska­Lincoln merger. Sixty-five members attended the discussion.

The chapter voted to contribute $100 to the Dr. Russel McCreight Scholarship Fund. The Chapter agreed to financially support the purchase of a medallion to be given annually to an outstanding University of Nebraska student in student teaching.

In the spring of 1968 the chapter was the eleventh largest fraternity.

A highlight was the purchase of four cardinal red gowns to be used for the May 23, 1968 initiation ceremonies.

To honor Dr. J. Galen Saylor on the occasion of his retirement as chairman of the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Nebraska, the department sponsored a three-day conference, June 11-16, 1968. Dr. Saylor had been initiated into PDK on July 26, 1938. Due to his long time participation and contributions to PDK, PDK assisted in sponsoring the conference and hosted the final session of the conference. Dr. Saylor was the keynote speaker.

Dr. and Mrs. Howard Eckel traveled around the world to study the nature, sources and management of role straining English-speaking secondary school principals in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, England, Canada, Scotland and Ireland, March, 1969.

In 1969, the Chapter's name was revised from Omicron to the University of Nebraska Campus Chapter. The Chapter's headquarters also moved from the Department of Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to Teachers College at the University of Nebraska­Lincoln.

The sixties were a time in which the fraternity was growing, however, the nation had a problem of racial unrest and desegregation of schools. PDK did not admit minority members. There was a long debate at business meetings at the state, regional and national levels devoting time to the issue of admitting blacks. There was the threat of losing numbers of chapters and members. It came out positive, but not without a lot of trial and tribulation.

President's Reflections

1970-71 Bob Knaub: "I feel that my experience with the University of Nebraska PDK Chapter has been one of the highlights of my education. The camaraderie which develops among PDKers at the social hours, dinners and executive meetings helps develop relationships among the membership which are long-lasting."

1971-72 Ron Joekel: "As I look back and reflect on the past year's activities and our Chapter's growth, several significant things have happened. First, our Chapter made definite strides toward expanding our goals of leadership, service and research. Hosting various state administrators and teachers was a successful step toward increased service and leadership. Emphasis was placed on research by the awarding of local research grants and attempts were made to bring a national research symposium to our campus. Second, the Chapter increased its attendance at meetings over the previous year. Third, we initiated an outstanding group of educators who shall make significant contributions to our Chapter and profession. Fourth, Rex Reckewey was elected to the National PDK Board of Directors, a proud event in our Chapter's history."

1973-74 Carl Novak: "The most important event of the year for both the Chapter and Phi Delta Kappa International was the ratification of a constitutional amendment opening membership in PDK to all professional educators regardless of sex. Although the amendment was, at the time, controversial, 90% of the members of Chapter 15 voted for ratification. The amendment was ratified too late in the year to initiate women in 1973-74, but the stage was set for 1974-75 and beyond. The change strengthened Phi Delta Kappa and solidified the fraternity's position of education leadership.

The year was eventful in other ways. The Chapter held 10 meetings with an average attendance of 56 members. Five PDK sponsored George H. Reavis reading rooms were established throughout the area. The Chapter awarded two research grants and two travel grants for trips to the USSR. Eighty-six new members were initiated into PDK and the Chapter was visited by President Howard Soule, President of PDK International."

1974-75 Dick Colerick: "You have enjoyed a varied menu of professional/ social experiences that hopefully have enriched you as a member of your profession. You have shared the views of a fellow educator from Australia, listened to the comments of an ABC news correspondent, heard the stand on educational issues of a state senator, been presented with the governor's opinions on educational issues by his special counsel, had the honor of hearing the new State Commissioner of Education, Anne Campbell, questioned a panel on the acculturation of minorities, been informed by the State Bicentennial Coordinator of the many proposals which are being considered to honor our bicentennial year, and have received some enlightenment from an agricultural engineer on population and the world's supply. You have witnessed the initiation of over 150 new members, approximately one-third of which were women."

1975-76 Don McCurdy: "For the 1975-76 year I would like to propose the following suggestion for goals and activities relative to the three PDK Cornerstones:

1. To re-emphasize the local PDK research awards.
2. To promote research through our programs.
3. The possibility of publishing abstracts of selected studies in the PDK newsletter is being explored.

1. To continue our practice of providing challenging and informative programs.
2. To make preparations for the October District IV Conference to be held in Lincoln.
3. To consider the adoption of an annual PDK Leadership Award to an outstanding leader in the geographical area served by this chapter.

1. To continue to support worthwhile activities of a service (e.g., a conference to be held June 18-29, 1976, on alternative forms of education sponsored by the Lincoln Public Schools, State Department of Education, UNL and PDK).
2. To promote the dissemination of PDK sponsored educational materials such as SARI Reading Management Program and the Educational Objectives Project.
3. To consider the adoption of an annual PDK Service Award to an outstanding educator in the UNL area who has a distinguished record of service to the profession.


The Seventies

70sThe University of Nebraska­Lincoln Chapter was one of the largest chapters and a chapter from which various members had been actively involved in fraternity activities at the international level.

In January, 1970, Gayle Childs was honored for 36 years of service. A plaque was presented to him. He served as district representative for six years, member of the board of directors and attended every biennial council meeting since 1949. Dr. Maynard Beavis, executive secretary for PDK flew in from Bloomington to honor Gayle. A special message was read from the National President, J. W. Lee. Rex Reckewey spoke for the Chapter. In his remarks he said, "Childs' honesty and integrity exemplify everything that PDK stands for."

The Nebraskan Kappan Newsletter, the Special Blue Streak Issue, gave a summary of one of the programs: Ron Brandt, associate superintendent for instruction, Lincoln Public Schools, talked about: "The hottest topic in educational circles these days is career education. We have had lots of fads in education which began with good ideas but produced more talk than significant change. That may happen to career education because it is being oversold."

On November 14, 1972, the chapter donated $85 to International Headquarters for the purchase of a board chair for the Maynard Bemis Room.

The George H. Reavis reading areas were established and continue to be maintained in areas easily accessible to teachers. The PDK Educational Foundation provides two complimentary copies of every Foundation publication and selected PDK publications, Reading areas were established at the following sites:

Educational Service Unit #6
Henzlik Hall, University of Nebraska
Lincoln Public Schools Administration Building City Library of Lincoln
East High School, Lincoln Public Schools State Department of Education
Southeast Technical Community College (located in Whittier Junior High School)

One of the major issues of the '70s was "What are we going to do about women?" It was a man's fraternity and some members had a reluctance to even consider admitting women. First it was casual, off the record, conversations at dinner, finally after meetings to a more formal agenda item for discussion.

The local Chapter voted 9-1 against admitting women in the beginning. The debates went through district meetings and biennial council where votes were taken. Passage failed the first and second times.

The Board eventually became the champion of "let's get on with this and share the problem and sell it to the members and the chapters."

On February 21, 1974, the 34th Biennial Council amendment called for the admission of women to be eligible for membership. "All professional educators of good character, regardless of sex" could be eligible. Once approved the chapter initiated twenty women.

One of the realities predicted was that women might eventually outnumber men in the fraternity and would assume positions of leadership.

Jim Walter: "In the late '70s PDK Chapter members who had been president of a national or professional education association were honored. It was a positive impression of the contributions of these educators."

A goal of the '70s was to establish better relationships with administrators throughout the state.

President's Reflections

1981-82 Ed Kelley reviewed the accomplishments of the Chapter. The first "point of pride" was the leadership provided by the executive board. The entire board attended the "Regional Officers' workshop" in Des Moines. The second "point of pride" was the decision by the Chapter to contribute $500 to the Phi Delta Kappa foundation. The third "point of pride" was the involvement of the Chapter's role in research. $1,050 was awarded to members conducting research.

1983-84 Gayle Hurlbert: "It is becoming increasingly obvious that education will be a "front burner" issue on the political scene at all levels and as an organization we can be an important part of the dialogue and action.

1984-85 Sharon Meyer: "For Nebraska Educators, 1984-85 promises to be a year of planning and implementation of programs that grew out of reports, studies and legislation of last year."

1985-86 Tom Guild: "Our diverse membership is one strength of our organization. In my opinion, we need to continue to nurture this diversity and grow professionally as a result of it. I am very pleased that our board includes a classroom teacher, three UNL professors, two Lincoln Public Schools central office administrators, a consultant from the state department of education and three elementary school administrators (two of whom are employed by school districts outside of Lincoln.)"

1986-87 William Sesow formulated five goals for the Chapter:
Goal 1­ Maintain the quality of past Chapter activities.
Goal 2­ Stimulate greater involvement among the Chapter membership.
Goal 3­ Increase Chapter 15 contribution to the PDK Foundation.
Goal 4­ Recognize individuals that have made significant contributions to education.
Goal 5­ Develop a Chapter 15 history.

1987-88 George Conrad: "It is exciting to see how fluid the organization is. This fraternity comes from the variety of people within the organization as well as by the programs offered."


The Eighties

80sThe chapter was identified as the sixth largest in the nation.

Rex Reckewey was the chapter chairperson for the planning committee to commemorate the Chapter's participation for the 1981 PDK Diamond Jubilee. The theme "What's Right With Education" was the kickoff for the celebration.

The newsletter, The Nebraska Kappan, featured an article in which three special persons were honored who had a combined 133 years of PDK service: Royce Knapp, Gaylen Saylor and Gayle Childs.

Gayle Childs recognized Rex Reckewey, Ron Joekel, Jim Rakers, Willard Nelson, Don Bush, Wes Mierhenry and Udo Jansen as a few of the strong contributors to the local chapter in one of the Jubilee's programs.

A committee made up of Ruth Boehmer, Jerome Cox, Don Grassmeyer and Mary Ann Losh created a project in which a survey was conducted as part of the celebration. As a result members generated ideas for attendance at PDK meetings. Some of those included:

  • It is a little more friendly to have greeters at the door to welcome you and someone there to say "goodnight."
  • A "contact tree" to help contact you with other members who work with you.
  • Invitation to come-along or car pool to one of the upcoming meetings.
  • Signing the guest book at PDK meetings might win you a prize or special recognition, one of the less subtle ways of encouraging membership.

Educational honors abounded as twenty-five native or adopted citizens who resided in Nebraska were honored at the Leadership Recognition Banquet. Margaret Cheng, the Chapter's International Scholarship Fund Award recipient was present and recognized.

The Norman F. Thorpe Service Award was presented to Martha Cook Fricke, president of the Nebraska State School Boards Association and John Prasch, Superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools. The award is given to persons who have, through their contributions to education, demonstrated the ideals of leadership through service as exemplified by Dr. Thorpe.

    The UNL Chapter sponsored an Australian Education Travel Seminar in commeration of PDK's Diamond Jubilee, The purposes of the seminar were to:
  • ­ assist Australian education in chartering their first PDK Chapter.
  • ­ study Australian educational systems
  • ­ foster international communications, cooperation and understanding.

The seminar group departed on June 15, 1981 and visited Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Towoomba and Canberra.

The UNL Chapter encourages, through partial funding, educational research within the Chapter's geographical region. The studies funded in the '80s:

1979-80 ­ A study of Relationships Between External Forces, Structure and Organization and Innovativeness of Teacher Education Programs-Nancy Claire, Schulze Brandt; and a Study of Relations Between Internal Processes and Innovations of Teacher Education Programs-Berniece Jedlicka Haney.

  • ­ Gifted Children's Developmental and Sex Differences for Perceiving Liquid Horizontality Implications for Instruction Ronald R. Kelley and Lee Witters.
  • ­ Effects of a Training Intervention on the Dogmatism, Flexibility and Attitudes of Preservice Students-Raul A. Clarke.
  • ­ The Effect of Supplemental Computer Instruction on Achievement in Spanish-Millie Park Mellgren.

Evaluation of the Principal: A Systematic Approach-Sunaday O'Ezeadi.

PDK Mardis Gras featured a costume party, "Let Your Creativity Go! Be Your Favorite Student," and education philosophy, education class, a nerd, a joke or anything at all to do with education. A $.50 additional fee for anyone not wearing a costume was assessed.

1983 was transitional for many Chapter members. Four of the educational agencies which serve the region and state had new leaders. Those were: Joe Lutjeharms, Commissioner of Education; Jim O'Hanlon, Dean of Teachers College; Jack Taylor, Superintendent, Omaha Public Schools and Roger Clough, Superintendent, Lincoln Public Schools. The contacts of those who served in these capacities prior were Anne Campbell, Commissioner of Education; Robert Egbert, Dean of Teachers College; Owen Knutsen, Superintendent, Omaha Public Schools and John Prasch, Superintendent, Lincoln Public Schools have continued to influence Kappans and education.

A Hawaiian Luau was held at Burge's cabin and Hog Heaven catered the food. This was an event for summer fun.

A large group of Kappans joined Ron Joekel to celebrate his victory for being elected president elect of PDK. A reception was given in his honor at the Top of the First National Bank Building. Gayle Hurlbert, president, commented on Ron's dedicated service to our Chapter and PDK. University of Nebraska President Dr. Ronald Roskens was the guest speaker.

At the District IV Conference, held in Omaha October 4-6, 1984, Marilyn Harris was nominated for an Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. The title of the Dissertation: The Perception of Selected Elementary and Secondary School Parents, Teachers and Administrators Regarding the Application of Computer Technology in the Public Schools.

PDK and the Educational Foundation began to award 25 scholarships to high school seniors who plan a career in education. One scholarship is in the amount of $1,500 and 24 are in the amount of $750. In addition, UNL Chapter of PDK awards a scholarship of $400. The following have been recipients:

1984­Lori Kreshel, Wilber, Nebraska
1985­Georgia Jean Scheel, Ashland, Nebraska
1986­Julie Ann Fleismons, Waverly, Nebraska

April 25-27, 1985­Nebraska Chapters of PDK, UNL, UNO, Central Nebraska, Western Nebraska, Wayne State College and the Nebraska Association of Teachers Education sponsored a ten state conference in Kearney, Nebraska. The theme was "Blazing Trails with Excellent Teachers." Sessions focused on increasing teaching effectiveness. Keynote presentation was by Audean Allman, Professor Educational Administration, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX. The conference was sponsored by Nebraska Chapter of PDK through a district IV project grant.

The goal of Ron Joekel, our International PDK president elect, was looking toward promoting international education and roles, responsibilities and related opportunities for Kappans therein. The Chapter discussed alternatives for a project in the area of international education.

Ron tells a story about one of his embarrassing moments: This was at a time when he was president-elect and Jerry Koff was international president. They were attending a board of governor's meeting for the Education Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and were going to a dinner at the Coleridge Club as guests. The group had two rental cars and Ron was the driver of one of them. Everyone just got into cars and took off. When they got to the Country Club and sat down to dinner, it was observed that there was an extra plate. Comments around the table began as "Well, did we miscount?" Finally someone said, "Where's Jerry Koff, president of PDK?" Jerry was sitting back at the hotel.

Ron said, "It had been my responsibility to bring Jerry, so I had to drive back and get him. Jerry's remarks were, 'Well, I know you want to be president, by God, you could at least wait until my term of office is over.' So you see, we had lots of fun. That's one on myself."

Chapter 15's own Ron Joekel became officially the president of PDK International at the 40th Biennial Conference in Toronto, Canada, on October 31, 1985. Ron chose the theme, "Dream No Small Dreams and Make No Small Plans." He further requested that we join with him in 91 rededicating ourselves to the purposes of Phi Delta Kappa, but most importantly to making our commitment to excellence happen."

The Phi Delta Kappa Newsletter Award was presented twice to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chapter, in 1984-85 for Award of Merit, Research Articles, and in 1985-86 for Award of Merit, Layout and Design.

Gwen Bell's dissertation, "Entry-Year Teachers: a Study and Analysis of Problems and Development of a Model for Assistance," was selected as the outstanding dissertation for the 1986-87 in Phi Delta Kappa's District IV.

Gil Saunders was recognized as being ranked 9th out of 130,000 for having the longest PDK membership for 64 consecutive years based on PDK International records.

Approval was received from headquarters to increase local dues by $2 beginning with the 1987-88 school year. Total dues were $32 and $9 for local.

The Chapter was selected as host for a foundation workshop on June 5, 1987. The topic was "Motivating Yourself and Your Schools."

International President Ron Joekel set the tone in an upbeat opening address in which he likened his term of office to a journey. He spoke of "new beginnings, new hopes and sometimes, new fears." He concluded by restating his theme "Dream No Small Dreams" and reminded the 41st Biennial Council in Louisville, Kentucky and the 8th International Conference on Educational Issues that "Dreams are our goals."

During the President's Dinner, George Conrad, Chapter president, and Chuck Godwin, vice president for program, were given the opportunity to address the delegates. During the address they recognized the history of UNL Chapter's contribution to the international leadership of PDK. To recognize Ron Joekel's contribution as International President, our Chapter honored Ron by presenting a check of $500 which was used to sponsor a fastback entitled "Microcomputers and the Classroom Teacher" by Gail Caissy.

At a local PDK meeting Gail was a featured speaker who discussed the topic of the fastback. The areas included the use of the computer in teaching and learning, types of software available, the integration of computers into the classroom, the developing of plans for implementation and the evaluation of educational software. Members who attended the meeting received a copy of the fastback.

When Ron Joekel finished his term of service as president of PDK International, Chapter 15 had been continuously represented at Board of Director's meetings for a period of 30 years, or by actual membership on the Board for a period of 24 years. Ron continued to serve on the board for a period of two more years, making the above figures 32 and 26.

On April 14, 1988, a PDK Night was organized to honor school board members and superintendents. Edward Jenkinson, author of PDK Fastback, "School Book Protest Movement," was the quest speaker.


Diamond Jubilee Year for UNL Nebraska Chapter

Happy Birthday

Happy BirthdayTheme: "Professionals Dedicated to Knowledge, Service and Research."

Program Planning Committee:
Mary Ann Losh, Vice President for Program
Carole Matthes, Chair of Program Planning Committee

Other Members of Program Planning Committee:
Betty Alfred, George Conrad, Chuck Godwin,
Ron Joekel, Goldie Quinn, Jim Schiefelbein

The Chapter has been blessed with members who have contributed to education in many ways. The Chapter has played a prominent role in providing leadership for the organization on the international level. Of the 44 members of Phi Delta Kappa for 60 or more years. three are members of the UNL Chapter. Samuel Brownell, with 69 years, tops all members having the longest membership. Gil Saunders has 67 years, and Walter E. Hager has 65 years as members of PDK.

The 75th Anniversary Initiation was the largest in the history of the Chapter. The Chapter surpassed its goal for 75 new members with 89 persons being initiated as members of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa at an initiation dinner at Misty's on February 9, 1989.

The Chapter president, Charles Godwin, remarked that the Chapter became an integral part of the international membership when David Trollope and Graham Pratt of Australia and Radha Bhatkal of India, graduate students at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln became members on initiation night.

As part of the celebration, Phi Delta Kappa International Headquarters provided the Chapter with special services and support activities. Claudia Cornett spoke on Humor in the Classroom. Lowell Rose, PDK International Executive Secretary, was a guest speaker who paid tribute to Rex Reckewey and highlighted the history of PDK. Carol O'Connell, president-elect of Phi Delta Kappa International, was a featured speaker on the topic

In an attempt to sponsor a special 75th birthday scholarship along with possible activities in research and leadership, Betty Alfred very creatively and effectively organized a special opportunity for members to contribute a minimum of $5. Each $5 contribution gave the individual/s a chance to win a diamond at a drawing. The Chapter's donors were updated to membership and in newsletter mailings. Fred Wilson was the official 75th birthday celebration jeweler. He donated 10 small diamonds and contributed half the cost of a quarter carat diamond in celebration of our Diamond Jubilee. A grand total of over $1,000 was donated. The winners of the diamonds were 1/4 carat, Marilyn Wilhelms (LNK); 10 smaller: Shirley Wenzel, Weeping Water; Deb Romanek, Lincoln; Lilas Lou Grotelueschen, Octavia; Lowell Rose, Bloomington, Ind.; - Carol Reed, Lincoln; Janet McDonald, Lincoln; Ned Hedges, Lincoln; Ernie Talanico, Wilber, Gailen McMullen, Beatrice; Carl "Nick" Novak, Lincoln.

As part of the Jubilee, the Chapter provided one member with an opportunity to attend one of the Gabbard Institutes. Only members who attended Chapter meetings could be included in the drawing at the April Special Diamond Jubilee Banquet/Dance. The winner was Sharon Meyer.

A series of special year-long meetings were planned in observance of the occasion.


The Nineties

90sFormer Web Master's note: As a young man who came of age in the nineties (regrettably labeled Generation X) I cannot forget the decade that brought us out of a dismal recession and into economic prosperity. A decade that saw a world without a Cold War, but ushered in the age of "Air strike Diplomacy." The nineties were truly good years, but at this time we are still gathering information to enrich our chapter history and to set the stage for our next big decade, the .... Naughts????