Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) is the national dental honor society, or the Phi Beta Kappa of dentistry. The organization was founded in 1914 at Northwestern University, and the Greek letters Omicron Kappa Upsilon were selected because together they translate as “Teeth and Health”. There are now approximately 60 chapters at dental schools across the U.S. and Canada.
The UCLA chapter was founded in 1967 and is called Epsilon Zeta chapter. Each chapter has faculty members, honorary members, and alumni members. The latter represents our most important membership source because a new group is selected each year from the graduating class.
Criteria for Membership:
Graduating students invited to join OKU make up 12 percent of each graduating class, who, in addition to scholarship, have demonstrated exemplary traits of character and potential qualities of future professional growth and attainments.
Faculty members invited to join OKU are dental school faculty who have been full-time teachers for three years or part-time teachers for six years, and have made outstanding contributions to the art, science, or literature of dentistry.
Honorary members invited to join OKU are any members of the dental profession who have made outstanding contributions to the art, science, or literature of dentistry and others not members of the dental profession who have made similar contribution to the advancement of dentistry.
The Robert Wolcott Award
To be awarded to a member of the faculty of the School of Dentistry who has fulfilled the following criteria:
Through his/her dedication as a teacher by having shared his/her knowledge, skills, and professionalism with the students of the School of Dentistry.
Earned the respect and appreciation of his/her colleagues for contributions to the School of Dentistry through active participation in activities which are so essential for its daily operation, in planning for its future, and in generating a cooperative intramural relationship.
Contributed to the School of Dentistry’s stature in the professional community at the local, state, national, and international level through research and professional competencies.
With each passing year has endeavored to leave the School of Dentistry a legacy of pride, achievement, and ambition.
To be awarded annually to a third year student at all dental schools in the U.S. and Canada in recognition of scholarship, character, and professional promise.
Annual OKU Events
Meet the new first year dental students for an informal dinner during the Fall Quarter; Pride in Our School Day in which we pitch in and do some serious housecleaning at the School of Dentistry and then enjoy lunch together; the Thanksgiving Health Fair held In Santa Monica; and the end of the year Banquet honoring the new student, faculty and honorary members.