Recent SLU Grad Named ‘National Leader of the Year’

The president of St. Lawrence University’s Omicron Delta Kappa circle has received the most prestigious award given to a student by the national leadership honor society.

Allison Baier ’14 received Omicron Delta Kappa's (ODK) General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year Award at the honorary’s 48th biennial national convention and centennial celebration, held June 11 to 15 at Washington and Lee University.

According to their website, each of ODK’s more than 300 campus chapters, known as circles, can nominate one student for the award. Nationally, ODK recognizes five candidates for the award, one for each phase of campus life: scholarship, athletics, campus or community involvement, journalism and creative and performing arts.

Ally, who was named St. Lawrence’s ODK Circle Leader of the Year in April, received the national award for the creative and performing arts phase. She was then selected at the convention as the National Leader of the Year. With the honor comes a $4,000 scholarship that Ally can use toward graduate-level study.

“I am so deeply humbled and honored to have been selected as the recipient of Omicron Delta Kappa's General Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year Award,” she said. “As the outgoing president of St. Lawrence University's Kalon-Kixioc Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, I spent the year encouraging my peers to recognize that ODK membership is not only an honor, but an obligation and a privilege to work together for the betterment of our community and ourselves. My success would not have been possible without the unwavering support from my mentors, colleagues and friends at St. Lawrence.” 

At St. Lawrence, Ally graduated magna cum laude with honors in both psychology and music. She was a Tanner Fellow recipient in 2012 and used that funding to volunteer in a rural orphanage in Dodowa, Ghana, for four weeks, where she assessed the benefits of music as a therapeutic tool for addressing mental health issues in orphaned children. That’s when she experienced how music can change children’s lives.

In the fall 2013 semester, Baier organized a benefit concert for the Red Rose School, a primary school in Kenya founded by St. Lawrence alumnus and Kenya Parliament member Ken Okoth ’01. The school sponsors and supports student education in Kibera, a large slum neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya, and Baier wanted to raise money for basic school supplies and musical instruments to help the school develop a creative arts program for the kids.

The inaugural fundraising concert, which raised $200, featured St. Lawrence’s Laurentian Singers and student band SLU FUNK. Ally is hopeful it will become an annual event.

Under Ally’s leadership, St. Lawrence’s ODK circle was named a Circle of Distinction, a national award that honors university circles that have made great contributions in their community and have supported the mission of ODK.

Ally plans to pursue her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and hopes to study music therapy and its potential in trauma work and recovery. After, she hopes to continue researching, practicing and possibly teach.