IOTA CHAPTER HISTORY
History cannot exist without dates. The milestone dates and related activities for Iota Chapter are:
November 17, 1911 – Omega Psi Phi Fraternity is founded at Howard University in Washington, DC.
December 15, 1911 – Alpha Chapter, the 1st chapter of the Fraternity, is established at Howard University.
February 6, 1914 – Beta Chapter, the 2nd chapter of the Fraternity, is established at Lincoln University in Lincoln University, PA. The chartering of Beta Chapter at Lincoln initiated the expansion of the Fraternity: Gamma in Worcester, MA; Delta in Nashville, TN; Epsilon in New York, NY; Zeta in Richmond, VA; Eta in Cambridge, MA; Theta in Marshall, TX.
August 17, 1920 – Iota Chapter is established in Atlantic City, NJ. Iota Chapter becomes the first graduate chapter in the Fraternity and is situated as the easternmost chapter in the Fraternity as well.
October 1, 1921 – Sigma Chapter is established in Chicago as an undergraduate chapter for the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Sigma Chapter becomes the first chapter of the Fraternity to be established in what would become the Tenth District, and the first chapter of the Fraternity established in Chicago.
December 1922 – Grand Basileus J. Alston Adkins and the 1922 Philadelphia Grand Conclave directed to re-sequence the chapter naming convention. To designate graduate chapters, “Omega” was added after the single Greek letter undergraduate chapter existing in the same city. (When chapters were initially chartered, the sequence followed the Greek alphabet in the naming order they were chartered (first Alpha, then Beta, then Gamma and so on) but the sequencing had no regard if the chapter was undergraduate or graduate).
October 1, 1923 – The Sigma Chapter charter, established in Chicago two years earlier in 1921, was changed from a city chapter, and seated at the University of Chicago. On this same date, the graduate members of the undergraduate Sigma Chapter, received a new charter, Sigma Omega Chapter (as a part of the Grand Conclave directive resequencing the graduate and undergraduate naming convention). Sigma Omega Chapter becomes the first graduate chapter established in Chicago. One month later on November 1st of that same year, the Iota Chapter graduate chapter charter was transferred from Atlantic City, NJ to the University of Chicago and established as an undergraduate chapter, making Iota Chapter the oldest chapter of the Fraternity in what would become the Tenth District and the oldest chapter of the Fraternity in Chicago. (The Sigma Chapter charter again displaced and was transferred to McGill University in Montreal, Quebec Canada in December 1923, becoming the first international chapter in the Fraternity).
May 1957 – The Iota Chapter charter was re-designated as a citywide Intermediate Chapter for both graduate and undergraduate members. Intermediate chapters had been created as a vehicle for undergraduate students to have access and opportunity to join the fraternity, and for recent college graduates to continue to associate with the fraternity, in locations where a graduate chapter did not exist, or in larger urban areas with multiple colleges and universities but no chapter of the Fraternity on the campus. It was also a bridge to allow those recent graduates a chance to establish themselves in their careers and earn wages to be better able to financially support Omega through their dues payments. Iota Chapter operated this way over the next 26 years.
February 12, 1995 – After an inactive period that began in late 1983, Iota Chapter was re-activated, retaining its Intermediate Chapter status, then re-chartered and returned to its original designation as a graduate chapter on July 12, 1995 as part of a previous Grand Conclave mandate to re-designate all intermediate chapters as graduate chapters. (The intended need for intermediate chapters no longer existed because of the proliferation of graduate and undergraduate chapters to this point).
Iota Chapter Today…
“The Chapter will work towards the continued survival of the Fraternity, preeminently through reclamation and retention efforts, always remembering that Friendship is Essential to the Soul…and to ensure the continued survival of Black Americans, especially in the City of Chicago, by nurturing the talent, education, competition and achievements of the best and brightest among its citizens, along with the standards of Omega and her Cardinal Principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift, and to serve mankind in the name of Almighty God, the Supreme Basileus of the Universe.”
Because of this Mission, the men of Iota Chapter have a rich history of service to both the Fraternity and the City of Chicago. That mission and service continues today, centered around social action activities in and for the Black community, in the form of social service projects to worthy causes from volunteerism to fundraising. Iota Chapter also provides scholarship awards to graduating high school students from $100 to $2500 each; health initiative related activities through education; and voter registration efforts to encourage Black Chicagoans to be involved with the political process that helps shape their lives.
“Do thy duty that is best; Leave unto thy Lord the rest!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow