Former shy student named ODK Circle Leader of the Year

Whitley Trusler headshot

Whitley Trusler ’17 (Newark, Ohio) was recently voted as the 2017 Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Circle Leader of the Year at Marietta College.

ODK is the National Leadership Honorary that recognizes and encourages superior scholarship, leadership, and character.

“This honor allows ODK to recognize a particular member who has truly embodied the spirit of leadership and service to the campus community,” said Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business. “The ODK members vote for the person that in their mind represents the ideals of the organization.”

Besides serving as the President of the Marietta College ODK Circle this year, Trusler is also the Director of Music for the Pioneer Activities Council; a Grants Assistant in the Office of Advancement; and a Community Adviser in Harrison Hall.

Though she is now an actively involved leader on campus, Trusler reflected that when she first came to Marietta, receiving such an honor from her peers was never considered as a possibility.

“I am extremely honored that my peers voted for me as the Circle Leader of the Year,” she said. “I would have never expected to be the individual I am today when I arrived in Marietta three and a half years ago. When I first came to Marietta, I was a quiet and shy individual. I didn’t have friends at first, and I decided I would come here, go unnoticed, and leave. However, individuals in the Leadership Program that I lived with freshman year pushed my boundaries, especially Kaila Czigans ’17 (Cumberland, Ohio) and Emily Drabeck ’17 (Washington, Pennsylvania).”

Trusler, who is majoring in Biology, also cites her involvement with the Pioneer Activities Council as a source of opportunities to step up and leave her comfort zone behind.

“I will be forever grateful for that experience and all of the others I have had as a student leader,” she said. “I hope it will encourage other quiet leaders to aim high and continue to grow here at Marietta College.”

No matter what Trusler initially imagined her four years at Marietta were going to be like, there is no doubt now that she has become a leader, highly respected and admired for her service to others through leadership positions on campus.

“Whitley has done an outstanding job as the ODK Circle president this year, so I was pleased with the choice, but this award is also a reflection of her great leadership on campus,” said Perruci, ODK Circle's Faculty Secretary. “Her positive attitude and confident demeanor are very inspiring.”