Fraternity celebrates 25th year

By Michelle Isaacson

Alpha Phi Alpha, a social service fraternity, will celebrate 25 years at NIU with a weekend of social and educational activities.

Willard Draper, the fraternity’s adviser, said the actual date of the anniversary was May 4, 1989, but the fraternity post-poned celebrations due to finals week.

Alpha Phi Alpha has 350 chapters on campuses across the United States and 350 alumni chapters throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Africa.

James Brunson, a fraternity alumni, said Alpha Phi Alpha was the first black fraternity at NIU and in the United States. It was established for black college students and was organized at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in 1906. The fraternity became interracial in 1945.

Alpha Phi Alpha was formed to provide a forum for men to develop the skills necessary for leadership in the larger society.

Stacy Dolby was the original faculty advisor when the fraternity’s NIU chapter began in 1964. Several of the original members of the fraternity lived with him and his wife.

“There were only two black advisers on campus at that time. The founders of the organization asked me to be their adviser,” Dolby said.

The fraternity’s president, Darnell Williams, said the activities will be held on Sept. 22, 23 and 24. The festivities will begin on Friday afternoon with a reception for alumni. At 7 p.m. the fraternity will participate in a candlelight march from the bell in front of DuSable Hall to the Martin Luther King Mall.

Speeches and a reception will follow the march. A dance featuring James Brown’s music will be held in the Regency Room of the Holmes Student Center. The cost is $1.50 per person and the event is open to the public.

Various meetings for the fraternity’s current and alumni members are planned for Saturday. A formal anniversary banquet and dance will be held in the HSC Duke Ellington Ballroom. The formal dance, which begins at 9 p.m., costs $2.00 and is open to the public. “Duke Ellington was a member of the fraternity,” Draper said.

One of the activities planned for Sunday is an informational meeting for men interested in joining the fraternity. It will be held in the Sky Room at the student center at 4 p.m.

“We plan to give men who are interested in the fraternity a chance to get information about us,” Williams said.

Williams said the Epsilon Phi chapter at NIU now has 12 undergraduate and 2 graduate members. “We pride ourselves on quality. These are guys who actually seek to be of service to others,” he said.