Gamma Omicron History

Ten students came together in August 2010 with the intention of chartering a Phi Delta Chi chapter at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) School of Pharmacy. The colony formed in October 2010 under the guidance of local alumnus Dr. Geoffrey Twigg (Beta Pi), a close friend and undergraduate fraternity brother of inaugural class member Matthew Balish. Dr. Thomas Sisca (Epsilon) helped guide the formation of the colony as our first Chapter Advisor. Dr. John Jordan (Iota) and Dr. Fred Tejada (Gamma Gamma) also provided support for the newly formed colony. With established officers, the group quickly grew to 23 pledges.  The colony held their first formal event on campus in October 2010, the first annual Diabetes Awareness patient education event.  They organized a campus-wide Toys for Tots drive for the holiday season in conjunction with Kappa Psi and the encouragement and support of Dean Nicholas Blanchard of the School of Pharmacy.  The colony at UMES held their pinning ceremony in December before leaving for break. Matt Balish was forced to resign his position as Worthy Chief Counselor of the colony, but this did not stop the drive of the colony members to form the chapter.  Dr. Geoffrey Twigg began to hold pledge meetings in the spring semester, and Deanna Dunn took on the leadership role as Worthy Chief Counselor. The pledges began to carry out the remaining events required to become a chapter.  In February 2011, Mid-Atlantic Regional Correspondent Chase Westen (Beta Pi) visited the colony.  A dinner was held for the colony at UNOs in honor of Chase’s visit, which coupled as a fundraiser and social event required for chapter formation. In addition, the Brothers performed a volunteer fire department clean-up in Berlin, MD, as well as a St. Jude Prescription for Hope letter-writing campaign pizza party.

Nineteen Brothers were initiated, and Gamma Omicron was officially chartered as the 87th Phi Delta Chi Chapter on April 30, 2011 in the presence of then-GVPCA Amy Valdez (Beta Iota), GPP Song You (Eta), and MARC Chase Westen. Founding Brothers were:  Deanna J. Dunn, Memar D. Ayalew, Kimberly Boettcher, Wenda Ivette Calderon, Donald F. D’Aquila, Emile E. Domingue, Luladey Haile, Natalie Elizabeth Hemphill, Padraic E. Keen, Brian Kirk Miles, Hamedat O. Okanlawon, Paula N. Oriaku, Susan Adetokunbo Osude, James H. Park, DeAngelo L. Price, Jared Daniel Steward, Abduselam M. Suleyman, Chad Vignale, and Tricia A. Wiltshire.

All of the Alpha class Brothers were members of the inaugural Class of 2013. Of these Brothers, four went on to complete PGY-1 residencies: Memar Ayalew, DeAngelo Price, Deanna Dunn, and Padraic Keen. Deanna Dunn was the first Gamma Omicron Brother to attend a Grand Council – the 68th Grand Council in Buffalo, NY where Deanna accepted our chapter’s charter, as well as our very first 100% Achievement Award.  As of the end of 2013, our Chapter has initiated a total of 68 Brothers.

The Diabetes Awareness Event is now held annually as a School of Pharmacy-wide event each year in October, and the Brothers continue to participate in a Diabetes Walk annually. The Brothers have also become loyal to Back Street Grill in Salisbury, Maryland, often holding pledge events and awards banquets there. Gamma Omicron also holds a 50/50 raffle every Spring semester that is open to the entire School of Pharmacy.  Chapter meetings, including Ritual and Initiation, are held on campus in Somerset Hall, the School of Pharmacy administrative building. Our Chapter Publication is the Gamma Omicron Literary Dose (G.O.L.D.), and is electronically published annually every May.

In 2013, Dr. Robert Freeman (Alpha Epsilon) joined the faculty at UMES. In the same year, we also initiated our first Graduate Brother – Dr. Jayesh Parmar. Dr. Tejada took over as Chapter Advisor, and Dr. Parmar assumed the role of Chapter Co-Advisor.

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Located in Princess Anne, Maryland, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is a land-grant, historically black college founded in 1886 as the Delaware Conference Academy. Since its beginning, the institution has had several name changes and governing bodies. It was Maryland State College from 1948 until 1970, when it became one of the five campuses that formed the University of Maryland. In 1988, it became a member of the then eleven campus (now thirteen) University of Maryland System, now known as the University System of Maryland. UMES is approved by the state of Maryland and fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The School of Pharmacy, founded in 2010, is part of the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. The School of Pharmacy accepted its first class in 2010 after gaining pre-candidate status. The UMES School of Pharmacy gained full accreditation status from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) after graduating the inaugural class in 2013.

This history could not have been completed without the generous advice and counsel of our founding Brothers. In compiling this comprehensive history, Worthy Correspondent Eric Barbye would like to express his heartfelt gratitude to his Brothers who so graciously contributed to this account of our beginnings and laid the foundation for the Gamma Omicron Chapter to flourish on the Eastern Shore.

This history was compiled and written in January 2014.

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