January 5, 1911 is the founding date of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Founded by ten students at Indiana University, it was originally called Kappa Alpha Nu. At the Grand Chapter meeting of December 1914, a resolution was adopted and the name of the fraternity was changed to Kappa Alpha Psi. The change became effective April 15, 1915. Happy Founders’ Day to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi.
Kappa Alpha Psi’s founders are: Elder Watson Diggs; John Milton Lee; Byron Kenneth Armstrong;Guy Levis Grant; Ezra Dee Alexander; Henry Tourner Asher; Marcus Peter Blakemore; Paul Waymond Caine; Edward Giles Irvin; and George Wesley Edmonds.
According to the organization’s website, “From its inception, and for the next six years, Brother Diggs served as the Grand Polemarch of KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity. Through his leadership and indefatigable application, augmented by the efforts of B.K. Armstrong, and John M. Lee, who comprised the remainder of the original Grand Board of Directors, the infant Fraternity was guided through the most perilous years of its life. Accordingly, much of the credit for the organization’s survival through this period is shared by these three men.”
On January 3, I was remiss not to acknowledge Grace Coolidge’s birthday. It’s just so ironic that two days after her 54th birthday, she became a widow. The 30th President died suddenly on the morning of January 5, 1933. In a weird twist of fate, Grace died on July 8, 1957. Her husband’s birthday was July 4.
Coolidge was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta chapter at Amherst College. His wife was a charter member of the Pi Beta Phi chapter at the University of Vermont. Together, they were the first President and First Lady who were initiated into Greek-letter organizations while in college. A post about President Coolidge’s death is at http://wp.me/p20I1i-cS
Phi Gamma Delta refers to deceased brothers as being “Ad Astra.” It means “to the stars.” According to Towner Blackstock, Phi Gamma Delta’s Curator of Archives, the full saying is “Fratres qui fuerunt sed nunc ad astra” (Brothers who were, but are now with the stars). I find it a very comforting thought.
Condolences to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. on the recent loss of two prominent alumni.
Stuart Scott, ESPN anchor, joined the fraternity while at the University of North Carolina. Yesterday, the fraternity’s Facebook page noted, “Brother Stuart Scott [Mu Zeta, ’84], an anchor at ESPN and a cancer fighter, has transitioned into Omega Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha’s chapter of sweet rest at the age of 49.”
Two days earlier, the Facebook page also had a notice about the death of former U.S. Senator Edward M. Brooke, III, a Republican from Massachusetts. Brooke became a member of the fraternity in 1937 while a student at Howard University.
Brooke was the first African American to be elected to the Senate by popular vote. Fraternity members were present when he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal several years ago. He was also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/