Alpha Phi Alpha Celebrating 25th Anniversary at Homecoming

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Oct. 15, 2004 – Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the first black Greek lettered organization at Southeast Missouri State University, will celebrate its 25th anniversary during Homecoming festivities Oct. 29-30.

The fraternity will hold a Mentoring Program and Reception at 4 p.m. Oct. 29 on the fourth floor of the University Center. Students and friends are invited to participate.

Speakers at the event, all of whom are Southeast alumni members of Alpha Phi Alpha, will be Dr. Tony Barringer, of Cape Coral, Fla.; Steven Q. Edwards of Glendale, Ariz.; Marquis Scott of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Timothy Jones of Florissant, Mo. The speakers will address the opportunities and challenges facing young African American college graduates as they become young professionals.

Barringer, who graduated from Southeast in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and in 1988 with a master of science in public administration degree, is an associate professor in the Division of Criminal Justice at Florida Gulf Coast University. He is the son of Fred and Bobbie Barringer of Hayti, Mo. Barringer earned his doctoral degree from Northern Illinois University. He will be honored with a 2004 Distinguished Service Award during Homecoming festivities Oct. 30.

Edwards, who graduated from Southeast in 1981 with a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a marketing major, is operations manager of the Arizona Republic newspaper. He played football at Southeast from 1977 to 1981 and was All-Conference in 1980 and 1981.

Scott, who graduated from Southeast in 1984 with a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a marketing major, is a motivational speaker and director or marketing and operations for the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce. Scott played football at Southeast in 1982 and 1983 and served as host of the “All While at SEMO” program. He was president of the Association of Black Collegians and was instrumental in the formation of the minority student internship program in the Southeast Department of Communication. He served as state secretary for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and wax Xi Gamma Chapter vice president and dean of pledges.

Jones, a 1984 Southeast graduate who earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, is a special agent with the U.S. Justice Department, currently serving as an investigator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He played football at Southeast from 1981 to 1983.

 Later in the evening at 6 p.m., the fraternity will hold a 25th anniversary Black Tie Dinner at the Drury Lodge in Cape Girardeau. An Alpha party will follow from 9:30 p.m. to midnight with entertainment by the Damien White Group.

The Xi Gamma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., was chartered at Southeast in 1979 by eight students, forever known as Pharaohs — James Brightman, Bruce Bryant, Alex Clinton, Steven Edwards, Oliver Gills, Emerson Jones, Willie Taylor and Joseph Williams. They led the way in establishing a chapter of excellence through scholarship, service and brotherhood. Since its beginning, the fraternity has initiated more than 120 members.

Terry Allen, a former member of the chapter who is coordinating the 25th anniversary reunion of the organization, said many Xi Gamma chapter members have gone on to excel after completing their degree at Southeast.

One of its alumni members, Derek Hudson, a 1989 graduate of Southeast, served as the first African-American Southeast Student Government president on campus, and he was the first African American Man of the Year at Southeast. Another alumni member of the Xi Gamma Chapter, Tony Douglas of Florissant, Mo., was the second African-American Man of the Year at Southeast. He graduated from Southeast in 1990.

Fifty-three members of the chapter have participated in intercollegiate athletics, and several members have been All-Conference performers in Southeast football and track, Allen said. Terrence Branch, a former member, was a Division I All-American in 1994 in the outdoor 400 meters. He graduated from Southeast in 1997. Garvin Ambrose of Chicago, an alumni member of the Xi Gamma Chapter and a former Southeast track and football athlete, is in his third year of law school at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Chicago. He is a 1998 graduate of Southeast.

Allen said the Honorable Terry Riley of Kansas City, another alumnus of the chapter, currently serves on the Kansas City (Mo.) City Council after serving a term as a Missouri state senator and multiple terms on the Kansas City School Board. He is a 1987 graduate of Southeast.

Allen says chapter alumni work in all levels of law enforcement from the U.S. Marshall’s Office, Drug Enforcement Agency and Justice Department to every level of state and city police departments. Randy Allen is the precursor of Xi Gamma Chapter, and Beta Eta Chapter at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale is the mother chapter, having assisted in establishing the Xi Gamma Chapter.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was established at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1906, as the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity for African American college students. Due to the prejudices of the time, seven visionary founders organized the first unit of this national fraternity called “Alpha Chapter.”

Despite severe economic struggle and racial conflict in the United States, the early pioneers succeeded in laying a firm foundation and remained steadfast in their goals of espousing good character, sound scholarship, fellowship and the uplifting of humanity.

The fraternity has grown steadily in its influence throughout the years with a membership over 150,000 since its founding. There are now more than 700 college chapters and alumni chapters in local communities. These chapters are located in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa and the West Indies.

The fraternity has contributed to the financial and organizational successes of such organizations as the NAACP, the Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and many other well rooted causes.