Two Pitt Students Win ODK Senior Of the Year Award

Issue Date: 
April 26, 2009

University of Pittsburgh seniors Robert Sumter Link III, majoring in civil engineering with a minor in economics, and James Ostendorf, majoring in history and political science, received the 2009 Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Senior of the Year Award during Pitt’s annual Honors Convocation Feb. 27 in Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland.

ODK, founded in 1914 at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., is an honorary society that recognizes students who maintain a high standard of leadership in collegiate activities. The award is given to students who possess and exhibit outstanding leadership qualities in service to the University.

Link, who graduated in December, is originally from Columbia, S.C. He served as Pitt’s Student Government Board (SGB) president in 2008 and was previously an active member of SGB. He used his position to set an example and worked to improve Pitt programs for future students. Link demonstrated a desire to give back to the community by participating in such groups as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Keep It Clean Oakland, Ronald McDonald House, and Shadyside Boys and Girls Club. During his term as president, he helped create Pitt Make a Difference Day, when Pitt students give back to Pittsburgh by taking part in service projects around the city. In addition, Link recruited potential engineering students as a member of the Freshmen Engineering Leadership Team. He also worked to have Pitt’s chapter of Triangle Fraternity, an engineering fraternity, rechartered to give students a community that provides lasting positive influence.

Ostendorf, who hails from Seekonk, Mass., has dedicated his time at Pitt to helping students acclimate to campus life through his leadership positions. He has been actively involved in Pitt’s Residence Life, serving as a programming coordinator and resident advisor in the residence halls. His membership in groups like Pitt Arts, Student EMS club, Free the Planet, History of Art and Architecture Club, and Phi Theta Alpha Honors Society have allowed him to have contact with and to support students. Ostendorf also has a strong interest in environmental issues and belongs to the Sierra Club, Save the Bay: Narragansett, and Pitt’s Geology Club. He will spend this summer working as a teaching assistant in Pitt’s Honors College Yellowstone National Park Field Studies Course.