The New York Association of Chapters of Alpha (NYACOA) recently hosted its 27th annual district convention at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Alpha Phi Alpha, whose motto is “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All,” fosters the principles of leadership, academic excellence, service and advocacy. Alpha is the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans and was founded at Cornell University by seven men “who recognized the need for a strong bond of Brotherhood among African descendants in this country.”
A luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 29, served to acknowledge the Hobart alums who became Alpha brothers during their time at the Colleges. Those recognized were Gary DeWitt Marshall ’89, Craig A. Monteverde ’89, Rick L. Wallace ’91, Algrin A. Flowers ’91 and H. Blair Minyard ’96. The alums said they were humbled by the respect and attention given by many Alpha Brothers who attended the convention.
As part of the convention there was a panel discussion, “Know Justice – Know Peace,” featuring a number of guest speakers, including brothers of Alpha. The panelists were:
- Brother Jorge Vasquez, of the New York City Commission on Human Rights
- Brother Musa Abdullah, Dean of Students at Eagle Academy
- Brother Rafael Ramirez, Student Activist, Columbia University
- Brother Osbourne McKay, Deputy Commissioner, Correctional Industries and Accreditation Deputy Commissioner, Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, State of New York
- Associate Provost and Associate Professor of Political Science DeWayne Lucas
A dinner reception with President Mark D. Gearan was also hosted at the President’s House.
Established by visionary founders, the fraternity initially served as a study and support group for minority students who faced racial prejudice, both educationally and socially, at Cornell. Significant members include W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Edward Brooke, Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, William Gray and Paul Robeson. Alpha Phi Alpha has been interracial since 1945.