GCU’s Delta Mu Delta chapter named No. 1 in U.S.
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
It started innocently enough. Dr. Moronke Oke occupied the office next to Dr. Kevin McClean at Grand Canyon University, and he needed a little help with this venture called Delta Mu Delta.
“I think I volunteered her,” McClean said, laughing. “She’s a real academic. She’s a very thoughtful person. She’s smart. She was active with me in other activities. It was a natural thing for her to join up with Delta Mu Delta as well.”
Not that she minded being “volunteered.”
“I really was blessed that my office was next to Dr. McClean’s, and we developed a fantastic relationship,” she said. “He was and still is my mentor.”
She has made her mentor fantastically proud. Since McClean retired in 2016, Oke and her team have more than doubled the membership of the Eta Chi chapter in the international business honors society – and now they have earned their biggest honor yet.
After being named to the top 10 out of the 350 chapters in the United States for the last two years, GCU is the 16th winner of the Anthony J. Jablonsky Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award. According to the Delta Mu Delta website, it is “presented to the chapter that not only exceeds Society standards but has developed outstanding programs to provide additional service to members and creative ways to further chapter growth, development and visibility.”
It is a testament to the job that has been done by Oke and the other Colangelo College of Business (CCOB) faculty members who have assisted her – Dr. Donna DeMilia for one year, Tracey Lauterborn for three years and Dr. Helen Hammond for the last year.
But Oke said it’s also a testament to the students who have gotten involved:
“The student leaders in the last three years have knocked it out of the ballpark. Each year I keep wondering how I’m going to replace the people who are graduating, and then the next set of leaders come up and they are just fantastic. So we’ve been blessed.”
The chapter was formed in 1995, and McClean started at GCU in the fall of 2002 and was named the Eta Chi advisor the following spring. Students with at least 24 GCU credits who rank in the top 20% of their class are eligible for Delta Mu Delta, and back then it wasn’t difficult to identify the candidates.
“When I first started we had a very high acceptance rate, but that’s because it was so small,” McClean said. “You’d have 10 students, all of whom were on campus, and I’d walk around and say, ‘You’re going to join.’
As GCU grew its online educational program, Eta Chi started inviting online students. McClean also helped grow the program in another way – he invited campus leaders such as President Brian Mueller, CCOB namesake Jerry Colangelo, CCOB Dean Dr. Randy Gibb and GCU Provost Dr. Hank Radda – to be honorary members.
“The strength of our honorary members comes from Dr. McClean’s visionary leadership,” Oke said. “He set the standard for the types of people who deserve to get this honorary membership.
“We’re always looking for more ways to get them involved and have them bless us with their wisdom so that students can hear from someone who is an industry giant. I know that most of them want to give back.”
Put it all together, and students have recognized the benefits. Eta Chi has added 1,119 members in the last four years, bringing its total to 2,231. Of the $20,750 in scholarship money that GCU students have received from Delta Mu Delta, $12,000 has been awarded since 2016.
But it’s not just an honorarium any longer. Eta Chi has become an important networking outlet for students, one of the four areas that determine the Jablonsky award winner.
The other areas are scholastic achievement, community involvement and the recognition of what an honor Delta Mu Delta membership is, reflected in the GCU Today coverage it has received.
Significantly, three outside judges – not the Delta Mu Delta leadership or any faculty advisors – choose the best chapter, but Eta Chi’s reputation was clear last month when members of the board of directors attended GCU’s virtual induction ceremony. Soon after, Oke learned of the best-chapter award at another Zoom meeting, this one for the top 10 chapters.
“The national organization has always liked Grand Canyon,” said McClean, who still is involved with GCU as a dissertation chair for the College of Doctoral Studies. “We’ve had a number of scholarship winners. We had the No. 1 academic student nationally several times. They knew we were up-and-comers, but Ronke and her team have taken it to a whole new level.”
McClean called Gibb “an enthusiastic supporter,” and Gibb is likewise thrilled to see how Eta Chi has evolved.
“We strive to be a world-class organization and hold ourselves to Mr. Colangelo’s gold standard,” Gibb said. “Dr. Oke’s leadership of DMD certainly is at that level – so proud of her and the team. I’m very proud of our students as well since any college activity is only as successful as the student level of involvement.
“And the best part is how our adult learners, our online students, have embraced this honors society. It is not just a ground campus organization, it is national with GCU alumni from all over.”
And to think it all started because Oke just happened to be McClean’s office neighbor.
“He must have volunteered me to take over,” she said, “but I had a great boss to learn from and he still remains accessible today.”
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].