History of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. - Kappa Alpha Psi (2024)

“Achievement in every field of human endeavor.”

KAPPA ALPHA PSI , a college Fraternity, now comprised of functioning Undergraduate and Alumni Chapters on major campuses and in cities throughout the country, is the crystallization of a dream. It is the beautiful realization of a vision shared commonly by the late Revered Founder ELDER WATSON DIGGS, “THE DREAMER”; JOHN MILTON LEE; BYRON K. ARMSTRONG; GUY LEVIS GRANT; EZRA D. ALEXANDER; HENRY T. ASHER; MARCUS P. BLAKEMORE; PAUL CAINE; EDWARD G. IRVIN and GEORGE W. EDMONDS. It was the vision of these astute men that enabled them in the school year 1910 – 11, more specifically the night of January 5, 1911, on the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana, to sow the seed of a fraternal tree whose fruit is available to, and now enjoyed by, college men everywhere, regardless of their color, religion or national origin. It is a fact of which KAPPA ALPHA PSI is justly proud that the Constitution has never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of a man from membership merely because of his color, creed, or national origin. The Constitution of KAPPA ALPHA PSI is predicated upon, and dedicated to, the principles of achievement through a truly democratic Fraternity.

History of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. - Kappa Alpha Psi (1)

Chartered and incorporated originally under the laws of the State of Indiana as KAPPA ALPHA NU on April 15, 1911, the name was changed to KAPPA ALPHA PSI on a resolution offered and adopted at the Grand Chapter in December 1914. This change became effective April 15, 1915, on a proclamation by the then Grand Polemarch, Elder Watson Diggs. Thus, the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter Fraternity in every sense of the designation.

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.

From its inception, every endeavor was directed toward establishing the Fraternity upon a strong foundation before embarking on plans of expansion. By the end of the first year, working together, Diggs and Armstrong had completed the ritual and had commenced work on the coat of arms. Work on the latter was completed during the following summer by Diggs, Armstrong and Lee while they were pursuing employment at a hotel in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In selecting a suitable motto, Diggs, Armstrong and Lee solicited the aid of a Professor of Greek Art at Indiana Technical College at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Having adopted a motto which mutually suited them, they carried a sketch of the coat of arms to a commercial engraver in Fort Wayne, from which he made the first metal plate. For years, in order to safeguard the ritualistic secrets of the Fraternity, Diggs laboriously typed and bound the rituals. It was not until he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he met an old German printer in whom he had confidence, that he entrusted the esoteric materials of the Fraternity to a commercial printer.

In the spring of 1912 Diggs wrote in a little blue examination book the first Constitution, which was adopted in 1920 with but a few revisions. This edition remained in use until 1926 when it was supplanted by the codified edition jointly written by Diggs, J. Ernest Wilkins, and W. Ellis Stewart. In 1957 the Constitution again underwent major revision.

History of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. - Kappa Alpha Psi (2)Now substantially established and provided with a Constitution, Ritual, coat of arms, motto, and guiding hand in a dynamic Grand Chapter, the Fraternity was ready for expansion. In the summer of 1912 Diggs visited the University of Illinois at Urbana, Illinois, where he met Earl B. Dicker-son, President of the Old “Illini Club.” This club constituted the nucleus of the University of Illinois Chapter, the Beta, which was chartered on February 8, 1913. Gamma Chapter (later changed to Indianapolis Alumni Chapter) was established on December 29, 1913, followed by the establishment of Delta Chapter at the University of Iowa, on March 7, 1914. The latter was subsequently changed to Gamma Chapter, and the designation of Delta assigned to the Wilberforce University Chapter at Wilberforce, Ohio. Epsilon Chapter, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, was established December 4, 1915, as the first chapter in the East. Elder W. Diggs journeyed from Indiana to give this chapter his personal and official installation, recognition and blessing.

Thus ended the infancy of KAPPA ALPHA PSI , whereupon the Fraternity embarked upon an era of expansion. Except for the years of World War I and II, when several Grand Chapter meetings were suspended, KAPPA ALPHA PSI has grown and prevailed with unabating impetus.

History of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. - Kappa Alpha Psi (3)KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity, relatively early, envisioned the modified attitudes of college administrators and administrations regarding certain frivolous activities previously identified with Greek letter organizations; and it initiated appropriate changes. Among the early changes brought about was the banning of paddling and other forms of physical abuse, and the introduction of constructive endeavors during pledgeship and probation. To date, KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity is organizationally and administratively mature. It moves steadily toward a tomorrow of promise, productivity and influence.


History of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. - Kappa Alpha Psi (2024)


What is the brief history of Kappa Alpha Psi? ›

Kappa Alpha Psi was one of the first African American social fraternities in the United States. [1] The fraternity was founded in 1911 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, a predominantly white institution at a time when racism and prejudice were high.

Why is Kappa Alpha Psi called Nupes? ›

The original name (Kappa Alpha Nu) is the source of the nickname for members, "Nupes".

What is the difference between Kappas and Nupes? ›

The Kappa is commonly used in fields such as medicine, psychology and social sciences to evaluate agreement in diagnostic tests scoring systems or coding schemes. The Nupe refers to a specific ethnic group and is relevant in the context of Nigerian culture, history and anthropology.

Who is a famous member of Kappa Alpha Psi? ›

Kappa Alpha Psi® proudly boasts of members who epitomize the essence of “Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor.” Some of these members include Ralph Abernathy, Wilt Chamberlin, Montell Jordan, Benjamin Jealous, Oscar Robertson, Cedric the Entertainer, Arthur Ashe, Mike Tomlin, Gayle Sayers, Adrian Fenty, Robert ...

What does Nupe stand for? ›

A member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity in the United States. National Union of Public Employees, a former trade union in the United Kingdom.

What are Kappas known for in fraternity? ›

Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ) is a collegiate Greek-letterfraternity with a predominantly African-American membership. Since the fraternity's founding on January 5, 1911 at Indiana University Bloomington, the fraternity has never limited membership based on color, creed or national origin.

What are Kappa Alpha Psi wives called? ›

A Silhouette member is a wife or widow of a financial Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. member.

What does the cane mean in Kappa Alpha Psi? ›

“Kappas are known for using canes because back in the old days gentlemen used them,” the fraternity members said. “Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity prides itself on its members having high morals and being in good standing with their community, thus making canes a symbolic item to represent our gentlemanship and demeanor.”

How prestigious is Alpha Kappa PSI? ›

Members of Alpha Kappa Psi have held almost every major political position in the United States, including the presidency and vice-presidency. Many members have gained notable positions on boards of directors and executive management teams of some of the world's most well known companies.

How do Kappas greet each other? ›

Documented procedures of greeting Kappas have been established in other Fraternity publications. There is need to re-emphasize their appropriateness. The acceptable greeting is Brother (followed by name last). Communication is something that must be done at all levels of the Fraternity.

Why do Kappas wear bow ties? ›

Legend also has it that each of the organization's founding members wore a bow tie to the Kappas' first dance, added Whitmire. It's also widely believed that in 1915, the fraternity's founder, Elder Watson Diggs, chartered Lincoln University's Epsilon chapter in a seersucker suit and a bow tie.

Why is Kappa Alpha Psi suspended? ›

2, the Penn State Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response suspended the Delta Theta chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. through fall 2027. Following a thorough investigation, the office found that the chapter had engaged in hazing and was in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

What are some fun facts about Kappa Alpha Psi? ›

Key Takeaways:
  • 01Kappa Alpha Psi was founded on January 5, 1911.
  • 02The organization was originally named Kappa Alpha Nu.
  • 03Kappa Alpha Psi is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
  • 04The fraternity's motto is “Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor.”
May 31, 2024

What does the Kappa Alpha Psi symbol mean? ›

Our Letters

The Greek letters, in specific order the letters Kappa, Alpha and Psi represent the name of the Fraternity and the fraternal bond it's members share.

Why did Kappa Alpha Psi change their name? ›

"It was felt that the new name was more in conformity and appearance with the best Greek practice." - Founder Byron K. Armstrong; Crossing the Jordan and Beyond. The image of the proclamation to officially change the name of the fraternity comes courtesy of the May 1915 Kappa Alpha Psi Journal, Vol.

What is Alpha Kappa PSI known for? ›

Today the fraternity has grown to become the oldest and largest professional business fraternity in the world. With nearly 240,000 initiated members and more than 200 chapters, it is among the 20 largest college fraternities.

What is Kappa PSI known for? ›

Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Incorporated (ΚΨ) is the largest professional pharmaceutical fraternity in the world with more than 6,000 student members and more than 87,000 alumni members. It was founded in 1879 at Russell Military Academy in New Haven, Connecticut as the Society of Kappa Psi.

Why was Kappa Alpha Psi's name change? ›

We decided to use the distinct Greek character 'Psi' in place of 'Nu' and after petitioning the Grand Chapter at a subsequent meeting, the name of the Fraternity was changed from Kappa Alpha Nu to Kappa Alpha Psi."


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