OTS History

About Omega Tau Sigma Fraternity

Several veterinary medicine students at the University of Pennsylvania organized the society now known as Omega Tau Sigma in 1906. OTS has chapters at fifteen veterinary schools in the United States and one in Canada (thus, OTS is the only international North American veterinary fraternity). OTS provides a closer relationship outside of the classroom for students at veterinary schools. OTS members are students with high professional ideals and excellent character, harmoniously combining their efforts in aiming at a most worthwhile goal, the furtherance of the veterinary profession.

History of Omega Tau Sigma Lambda Chapter

In Spring 1985, Dr. Karen Baum (with the help of Gamma Chapter from The Ohio State University), established OTS's Lambda Chapter at VA-MD Vet Med. The charter members and elected officers were:

  • President: Paul Fox
  • Vice President: Ray Kaplan
  • Secretary: Bonnie Hileman
  • Treasurer: Debbie Fink
  • Faculty Advisors: Drs. Karen Baum and Larry Freeman
  • Members: Robert Bagley, John Klimavicz, Sam Clark, Bill Hemmer, Pam Orcutt, Cary Craig, John Herrity, Len Rice, Dr. Kent Roberts, Chrissie Foster, Jerry Hoffman, Kathy Slayman

As the chapter continued to grow, the early years of Lambda Chapter's community service projects included "Pets and People," a monthly pet visit to a local nursing home; Red Cross bloodmobile drives; "Bones and Beasts," an elementary school education program; and "Pets with Santa," where more than half of the profits from photos were donated to the local humane society. Activities such as happy hours and parties, as well as an annual whitewater rafting trip, provided social outlets for the members. Since its start-up days, chapter community projects have included: an annual Easter Egg Hunt for the children of VA-MD Vet Med students, staff, and faculty; creating an educational and hands-on program for the local chapter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters; collection of glass recycling at the veterinary college; and helping to sponsor service dogs from the Saint Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation by providing monthly dog food.

Lambda Chapter's goals are to provide students the opportunity to get involved in community service projects and to increase public awareness of the veterinary profession. Active involvement in the Lambda Chapter enriches the member's educational experience and prepares students for their role as public servants and leaders in the community as future veterinarians.

Omega Tau Sigma Creed

“I believe in Omega Tau Sigma, society of kindred minds, united in fellowship to develop character, to promote leadership, and to encourage scholarship in the advancement of the veterinary profession.

“I will strive to make real these fraternity ideals in my own daily life in the service of humankind and the animal kingdom.”

Coat of Arms of OTS

Cornell University's Beta Chapter designed the OTS coat of arms on January 5, 1924. Its colors are purple with gold letters and insignia. The shield stands for the organization, is the central theme. It illustrates a group of members who have banded together under the OTS banner to further defense of the animal kingdom.

Figures on either side of and behind the shield portray the animal kingdom. The figures show that our interest is in all animals. The sword and the spear represent the tools with which we, as a group of veterinary students, are equipping ourselves in the defense of the animal kingdom. The crest in the form of the helmet with plumes attached was a sign of high royalty in medieval times. (According to heraldry, royal coats showed the helmet from the side.) Thus, when we see the crest, may we try harder to remain the best of royalty, so to speak.

The OTS coat of arms should mean to each individual in the organization that she or he is a part of an organization that calls for members to band together with the high ideal of promoting veterinary medicine.