Beyond the


“Make it the best it can be.” Remembering Dr. Sam.


Dr. C. Samuel Micklus - Founder of Odyssey of the Mind

OM founder, Dr. Sam, has passed. We remember him with a warm heart.

OMers, Coaches, Volunteers and the entire NorCal Odyssey of the Mind family would like to join everyone at OdysseyHQ and the Micklus family in appreciating, respecting and admiring the lifetime achievements of OM’s beloved founder, Dr. Sam Micklus.

Dr. Sam (Dr. C. Samuel Micklus), has been helping develop innovative problem-solving skills in students for decades, beginning with this time teaching at Rowan University in New Jersey. Professor Micklus experimented with creative problem-solving activities in his industrial design classes. He wrote challenging problems to set a creative framework for the course, rewarding the risk-takers whose solutions may not have worked, but whose ideas were feasible and innovative. The first of what would become the annual Odyssey of the Mind competitions occurred in New Jersey in 1978 when 28 junior and high school teams came together to solve Dr. Sam’s “challenges.”

Dr. Sam wrote six long-term and over 30 spontaneous problems every year since OM began. When his son Sammy was old enough, he began helping his father create each year’s challenges. Dr. Sam loved watching teams solve his problems.

His remarkable life and accomplishments will be with us through eternity. We will all keep that in our minds and hearts as we say “goodbye” to this loving husband, father, grandfather, and iconic educator of all of the world’s OMers. While it is sad news, it is not a time for tears but rather one of smiles for all of the amazing accomplishments millions of students from all over the years have accomplished since OM began. As Dr. Sam said, “Don’t make it ‘Good enough’, make it the best it can be”. He didn’t just say it, he lived it!

There will be a tribute to Dr. Sam at the upcoming Odyssey of the Mind 2024 World Finals at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. It will be broadcast and attendance will be open to all.

OdysseyHQ is very busy preparing for World Finals and is asking that you wait to share any memories you have when they publish a link for them to be collected, preserved and eventually shared.

If you would like to share memories of Sam with our NorCal family, you can submit them through our Facebook page: