Kappa Omicron Nu History

Kappa Omicron Nu was established on February 21, 1990 by the consolidation of Kappa Omicron Phi and Omicron Nu. Following a successful three-year collaboration as an Administrative Merger, Kappa Omicron Nu was structured to realize the synergistic benefits of two strong organizations. Kappa Omicron Nu gives voice to advocacy for scholarship; clarity to the quest for excellence in scholarship, research, and leadership; leadership to a sizable scholarly community for critical dialogue, collaboration, and networking; emphasis to examining the responsibility of scholars to the profession and society; commitment to enriching the intellectual environment through its local and national initiatives; and priority to innovative and enhanced services. In 1995 the Society changed its definition of field to Family and Consumer Sciences. Headquartered in East Lansing, Michigan, Kappa Omicron Nu is located close to the Michigan State University campus.

Omicron Nu was founded in 1912 at Michigan Agricultural College, now Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan. At that time there were three academic programs at Michigan Agricultural College: agriculture and engineering for men and home economics for women. Maude Gilchrist, Dean of Home Economics, recognized that women did not have the same advantages and opportunities as men. Agriculture on the campus had Alpha Zeta to recognize high scholarship, and Tau Beta Pi was the honor society for engineering. Faculty members were familiar with other honor societies because Agnes Hunt was a Phi Beta Kappa member and Grace Stevens was a Sigma Xi member. So the Dean and the faculty decided to do something to recognize home economics scholarship. They formed Omicron Nu to set high standards for the newly emerging programs in home economics and to provide an incentive for scholarship. The purposes of promoting scholarship, research, and leadership were the motivating factors behind its expansion to other campuses across the country.

The formation of Kappa Omicron Phi, ten years later in 1922, was suggested by Mabel Cook in the dietetics class of Hettie Margaret Anthony at Northwest Missouri State Teachers College, Maryville, now Northwest Missouri State University. Miss Anthony, Head of Home Economics, provided leadership to the honor society for the first fourteen years as it expanded to other campuses and became a national organization. Emphasis was placed not only on intellectual and scholastic excellence but upon personal development—intellectual, spiritual, ethical, and aesthetic qualities. The society undoubtedly benefited from the unique leadership of Hettie Margaret Anthony. Her scientific mind, courage of conviction, sound judgment, and deep interest in the welfare of women contributed to the values and stability of the organization. Her memory is perpetuated through an annual fellowship for graduate study. Fifty years after its formation, Kappa Omicron Phi opened membership to men.

Kappa Omicron Nu is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. It is an affirmative action/equal opportunity organization.


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