The Kappa Gamma chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. was founded by three members on April 18, 1987. After inactivity since the spring of 2021, the historically Black fraternity has returned as an active chapter of Lehigh’s Cultural Greek Council (CGC).
Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. is a part of the National Panhellenic Council, the organization that oversees the operation of nine historically Black Greek letter organizations. These four sororities and five fraternities are commonly referred to as The Divine Nine. Sigma Gamma Rho Inc. is a historically Black sorority currently active on Lehigh’s campus.
Luis Caceres, ‘24, a member of Phi Sigma Chi Multicultural Fraternity Inc. and the CGC president, said there has been a positive change since Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. was reactivated.
“A lot of multicultural organizations have respect for The Divine Nine because our traditions of stepping, strolling, and saluting draw inspiration from there,” Caceres said.
The CGC is significant to Lehigh, as all of the multicultural fraternities and sororities are a part of larger national organizations. Phi Sigma Chi Inc., for example, is a part of the National Multicultural Greek Council.
Though the fraternity is now a part of the Lehigh CGC, the chapter is also open to students at nearby Moravian University and Ursinus College.
As of fall 2023, the now-called Omicron Kappa Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. has three new Lehigh members: Elijah Blayark, ‘25, Justin Burrell, ‘26, and Tommy Anderson, ‘24.
The three new members engaged in a new member presentation, also called probate, on Nov. 11.
Blayark, Burrell and Anderson were joined by several alumni and other members of cultural fraternities and sororities from across Pennsylvania, carrying the chartered chapter’s 36-year legacy at Lehigh.
Blayark said new and returning nupes, a term members use to reference one another, gathered at the presentation with alumni ranging from 2005 to 2020.
“It was an amazing experience,” Blayark said. “Being able to have people who were here in 1987 and others from Divine Nine organizations was a great celebration and reunion.”
Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. has over 160,000 members within its 721 undergraduate chapters in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany, South Korea, Japan, U.S. Virgin Islands, Nigeria, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
The organization prides itself on its commitment to creating a strong community — what Burrell sees as an organization on campus that wants to enact positive change.
The first chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. was created at Indiana University Bloomington in 1903 to honor the Kappa Alpha Nu Greek Society that was disbanded due to a lack of membership because of the small population of Black students who were segregated by Jim Crow laws.
“The biggest reason I wanted to join Kappa Alpha Psi was because of the history. I can lean on the success of our chapter and be a space for men of color, or any man, to come together and be successful,” Burrell said.
He said one of the fraternity’s core values is uniting college men of culture, patriotism and honor in a bond of fraternity.
“That’s what it’s all about for us,” Burrell said. “Being able to bring people together, being able to have events for the community and being able to do community service.”
The CGC’s newest addition has attracted new members, and Caceres said the council is quickly growing, with almost 40 members now.
“It’s great to see that positive growth, especially when our recruitment pool is not as big as Interfraternity or Panhellenic Councils,” Caceres said.
Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. intends to start hosting events in the spring semester of 2024, starting with the Krimson and Kream Ball on Feb. 2. Prospective members and guests are encouraged to come. For more information, visit @oknupes on Instagram or visit the CGC’s website.