A Legacy of Leadership and Achievement: Kappa Alpha Psi Centennial Celebration

Kappa Alpha Psi Founders’ Day Celebration
Indiana University
IU Cinema
Bloomington, Indiana
January 5, 2011

A Part of IU's Rich Tradition

Thank you very much for that introduction.

I am very pleased to be here this morning to help you celebrate this great milestone in the history of Kappa Alpha Psi and in the life of Indiana University.  As you all know, this fraternity was founded at IU in 1911, and let us not pass over this fact too quickly.  It is among the many remarkable events that have taken place here that transform Bloomington, Indiana, into one of the jewels of the Midwest. The only national fraternity to be founded at IU, Kappa Alpha Psi is among the nation’s first fraternities for African Americans, and this is a great point of pride for this university. 

When this fraternity was founded a century ago, the university was home to just over one thousand students.  Now we welcome over one hundred thousand.  The university had yet to form our Schools of Business and Music, which now rank among the best in the world.  And at that time, our African American students faced adversity and resistance as they worked towards their education and prepared for their future. 

Out of that adversity, Kappa Alpha Psi was born.  Over the years, it has grown into a local, national, and global organization with over 150,000 members and 700 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state in this country. It has supported tens of thousands of young men in its long and illustrious history as they have worked towards their degrees.  It has helped transform universities in the United States into intellectual homes for African American men in particular. 

And you all know that this is far more than a social fraternity.  Since its inception, Kappa Alpha Psi has fostered leadership and achievement in its members.  It has instilled an ethic of service, and it has built character.  Perhaps most important, it has generated bonds of friendship and brotherhood among its members that date back to its earliest days.

A Legacy of Leadership and Achievement

All of these qualities are evident in the impressive achievements of Kappa Alpha Psi’s numerous distinguished alumni. Take, for instance:

  • Former mayor of Los Angeles Tom Bradley, tennis great Arthur Ashe, and legendary Civil Rights leader Ralph Abernathy;
  • Founder and CEO of Black Entertainment Television Bob Johnson, IU graduate and television personality Tavis Smiley, and film director John Singleton;
  • IU football legend George Taliaferro and IU basketball legend Bill Garrett;
  • Entrepreneur Bill Mays, president and CEO of Mays Chemical Company;
  • Writer and historian Arthur Schomberg and IU history professor Khalil Muhammad, who was recently named the director of the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture.

And Professor Muhammad is certainly not the only member of the IU faculty and staff who is a Kappa. 

Those distinguished ranks include:
  • Vice President Ed Marshall, one of this nation’s leading optometric researchers,
  • Senior Associate Athletics Director Chris Reynolds,
  • Executive Director of Multicultural Initiatives Charles Sykes,
  • Clarence Boone of the IU Alumni Association,
  • Director of the Office of Diversity Education Eric Love,
  • Professor of History Lawrence Hanks,
  • Garfield Warren in the Physics Department,
  • Kevin Slates in HPER
and many others.

Conclusion

I could continue, but let me close by thanking all of IU’s Kappas—past, present, and future—for your many contributions to Indiana University:  gifts of time, service, counsel, and resources.   You are part of a glittering constellation of IU students and alumni who—through your continuing involvement and generosity—help maintain the life of this great university. 

Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your fraternity’s history, and you have my best wishes for continuing the outstanding legacy of leadership and achievement your predecessors have left as their gift to you and to Indiana University.