Alphas mark 50 years with week of service


Members of Alpha Phi Alpha celebrate the fraternity’s 50th anniversary Friday in the Stevenson Multipurpose Room. Alpha Phi Alpha brothers will host service events and motivational speakers to celebrate the anniversary.

By Jackie Nevarez

Alumni of the Epsilon Phi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the chapter’s founding through their motto of “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All.”

Alpha Phi Alpha’s Epsilon Phi chapter was established May 5, 1964, at NIU. Alpha Phi Alpha has founded and led groups like the Black Student Union, NAACP, the Northern Black Choir and the National Association of Black Accountants, said Joseph Williams, senior communication major and president of the Epsilon Phi chapter.

Nationally, Alpha Phi Alpha’s membership includes civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and NAACP cofounder W.E.B. Du Bois.

In addition to serving as the president of Alpha Phi Alpha at NIU, Williams is the assistant district director of greater Illinois’ Alpha Phi Alpha chapters. Williams said he is excited to meet some of his fraternity brothers in the coming week.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for … the DeKalb community to see the rich history we live, not only through us, but through the alumni coming back to show that what they did was in their heart and not just for show,” Williams said.

Alumnus Rodney Moyer became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha April 29, 1999. Moyer served as the vice president of the Epsilon Phi chapter as well as president of the Black Student Union.

Moyer is a motivational speaker who has spoken at more than 192 high schools and 60 universities across the country. He has also been featured on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”

“Alpha Phi Alpha and Epsilon Phi [are] about service,” Moyer said. “My way of celebrating is by actually serving.”

Moyer will make a presentation called High School, I Did It! Now What? at 1:55 p.m. Monday to 400 seniors at DeKalb High School, 501 W. Dresser Road.

For NIU students, Moyer will hold a news conference at 4:15 p.m. Monday on the fourth floor of Adams Hall where students will be able to network with each other before Moyer makes a 15-minute presentation.

NIU “provides an unbelievably outstanding student leadership platform,” Moyer said. “When I was an undergraduate student, I had over 100 interviews … in all those interviews, about 95 percent of them, all we talked about [was] myself as a leader … this is the platform the brothers of [the] Epsilon Phi chapter have come from.”

Algenoy Alexander attended NIU from 1995 to 2000 and served as Student Association president. Alexander became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha on April 11, 1997. Alexander now works as a motivational speaker and life coach as well as a co-author of the book “Unleash the Vision Within You, How to Fulfill the Vision for Your Life.” Since attending NIU, Alexander has spoken to more than 300,000 high school and college students.

Alexander will give away copies of his book as well as packets consisting of educational services and materials to aid DeKalb High School students at Moyer’s event. Alexander said Alpha Phi Alpha has done a lot for him and makes him think of the legacy the Epsilon Chapter has created in the community.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating our accomplishments … of the service that we provided NIU and getting together and figuring out a plan for how we will continue our service for the next 50 years,” Alexander said.

James McCarter, senior corporate communications major, is one of six current undergraduate Alpha Phi Alpha members. McCarter said it was good to see alumni and members give back to the community, mentioning the time Alpha Phi Alpha member Jerry Blakemore, vice president and general counsel, gave him the suit off his back when he needed it.

“It was very difficult for African American students to … be accepted at Northern in 1964…,” McCarter said. The anniversary “means the university really has evolved for a traditionally African American fraternity to survive and thrive for such a long time at a public institution.”