Skip to main content

History of the Sigma Circle

Page from the 1927 Yearbook at UMD showcasing the first image of ODK members
Photo of ODK members from the 1927 Reveille. This is the first photo of the organization members available from the University of Maryland archives.

The Sigma Circle of ODK was founded on February 2, 1927, by six men who immediately began tapping undergraduate members of ODK. Formerly, men knew that they were being considered for ODK if they were invited to the Calvert Cotillion in December. Their formal initiation would occur at a convocation in the Spring. Many famous people have been initiated into Sigma Circle, some as student and faculty members, others as Honorary members. Some of Sigma Circle’s famous members include President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Vice President Alben W. Barkley, the Earl of Halifax, Admiral Stansfield Turner, and Congressman Steny Hoyer.

Sigma Circle is very proud of its long and successful history. It originated the Annual Awards Banquet; awards an annual $1,000 scholarship to a promising student leader; selects the “Top Ten Freshmen” and the “Sophomore Leader of the Year;” and with the help of alumni donations constructed the ODK Fountain on McKeldin Mall, which was built to create a lasting monument to leadership and to those who have contributed so much to the campus. All of the names of those people involved with ODK since 1927 are engraved on the granite sides of the ODK Fountain, which was dedicated in April 1997.


Year the Sigma Circle was Formed
Years of Leadership

Honors and Awards

  • 2023 Presidential Award of Excellence
  • 2022 Presidential Award of Excellence
  • 2021 Presidential Award of Excellence
  • 2020 Presidential Award of Excellence
  • 2019 Presidential Award of Excellence
  • 2018 Membership Growth & Stability Award
  • 2018 Presidential Circle of Excellence
  • 2017 Presidential Circle of Excellence
  • 2016 Presidential Circle of Excellence
  • 2015 Presidential Circle of Excellence
  • 2014 Superior Circle
  • 2013 Circle of Distinction
Back to Top