The 1948 National Meeting ushered in a new era. The meeting was held at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana. This was the first of many national OA gatherings at the centrally located university. So-Aka-Gha-Gwa Lodge served as the host lodge and wore a distinctive neckerchief so all Arrowmen could identify them if in need of assistance.
1,100 – 1,200 delegates from 146 lodges were in attendance, both all-time highs. Founder E. Urner Goodman provided the opening keynote address. He noted that the Order now had 362 lodges, over 40,000 active members and more than 100,000 initiates since the beginning. For the first time since 1940 there were classes / discussion groups. 13 of them were offered to the delegates.
Regarding memorabilia, for the first time there was a patch. The silk-screened felt emblem was distributed one per delegate and they could not trade it at the conference if they wanted to eat, because it also served as their meal ticket. There was also a Swiss embroidered staff patch.
The big news at the meeting was the announcement in the great Indiana University Auditorium that the Order of the Arrow would now be completely a BSA program. This was a huge change and a surprise to many delegates.
While the patch and the program all call this event the 15th National Meeting, it is now convention to refer to it as the first NOAC. It is called a NOAC because of the new relationship with the BSA and the elements of the meeting were far more like a modern NOAC than a National or a Grand Lodge Meeting. It was the first gathering to be held at a university, to have more than 1,000 delegates or to have a patch. There was also the presentation of the OA Distinguished Service Award.
Gone was any business meeting of the delegates and gone were elections. The man who would have been the next National Chief instead became the first Chairman of the new National OA Committee. G. Kellock Hale Jr. was installed at the 1948 Meeting as the committee’s first Chairman even though his position had not been officially approved.