Dr. Otha L. Britton

2017-2018 Governor

 

Dr. Otha L. Britton, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Martin, Tennessee, was elected Governor of the Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee District of Kiwanis International, at the Natchez Convention in June, 2017. 

Otha has served the District and Kiwanis International in many ways, serving as Trustee of Region I for 2014-2016, and as Division 1A Lieutenant Governor for 2011-2012.  He served on the District Foundation Board of Directors for five years, including serving as president in 2014-2015.  Otha is a River of Life Fellow of the District Foundation and he has been a “Friend of the Foundation” since its inception.  He has served and continues to serve on the Eliminate team as division coordinator, and he has demonstrates his sincerity about the Eliminate Project as both a Charter Zeller Fellowship and a Centennial Award.

Otha is a member of the Kiwanis Legion of Honor, having been a member of the Martin club for 38 years. He has served the club in many ways, including board member, vice president, president-elect, and distinguished president. Because of his service to both the club and Division 1A, the Martin Club awarded him with Life Membership in Kiwanis International.  Due to his fundraising efforts for the Iodine Deficiency Project and his support of the UT Martin Women’s Basketball team, the team and the Martin club awarded him with a Kiwanis International Foundation Tablet of Honor.

Other service work performed by Otha includes service to his profession, to his church, to the American Cancer Society, and to the local food bank. He has received numerous awards, such as the Tennessee Higher Education Computer Processing Distinguished Service Award, the UT Martin College of Business and Global Affairs Outstanding Service Award (twice), the UT Martin Phi Kappa Phi Meritorious Service Award, and the Sigma Nu Fraternity National Scholar of the Year Award. He was elected and served as vice president and then president of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Mid-Southeast Chapter. He has numerous publications and has presented many professional talks at the national, regional and state-wide levels. Otha has taught an adult Sunday School class for his church for over 30 years and he regularly performs various tasks during church services. He has served on an American Cancer Society Relay For Life team for the past 12 years, raising thousands of dollars to help cancer patients and to fight cancer.

Upon graduation from Portales, New Mexico High School, Otha turned down several football scholarships in order to concentrate on his academic work in college. He was awarded a four-year scholarship by the Portales Kiwanis Club and graduated summa cum laude from Eastern New Mexico University with a major in mathematics and a minor in physics. He then attended Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on a teaching assistantship and earned both the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in mathematics. His first post doctorate faculty position was at the University of Mississippi, where he taught both mathematics and computer science. When he was given an opportunity to teach full-time computer science and help start a computer science major at the University of Tennessee at Martin, he moved to Tennessee. During his tenure at UT Martin, he served 19 years as Director of Computer Services, while continuing to teach at least one course each semester.

Paying back Kiwanis for his scholarship was the first motivating factor for Otha to become involved with Kiwanis, but as he read and studied more of the mission, the objects of Kiwanis, and the desire to improve the world by serving the children and communities in which we live, he became determined to be a part of Kiwanis. He is very concerned about the declining membership in Kiwanis and the detrimental effect it will have on our communities and the world.

Otha is married to Mary Monica (Rajnik) Britton, and they will soon celebrate their 50th anniversary. They have three children: Dawn, a chemical engineer; Carla, an accountant; and John, a software engineer. They have two young grandchildren and will show you pictures any time you will let them.