Kappa Alpha Psi to host Founders' Day event
by Laura Nation-Atchison
Jan 04, 2014 | 3968 views |  0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bertram Orum
Bertram Orum
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Members of the regional cluster of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. join together to bring an inspirational Founders’ Day celebration for all to enjoy Jan. 12.

This year, the national organization’s Talladega/Sylacauga/Gadsden/ Piedmont and Anniston Chapters host the occasion in Talladega at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church.

This event is organized not only for Kappa Alpha Psi members, but for all who want to enjoy a visit from guest speaker Bertram Orum and an afternoon of fellowship with these local fraternity members.

The celebration begins at 3 p.m. and afterward, there will be time to “meet and greet” and Kappa Alpha Psi members will provide a variety of refreshments to enjoy.

Orum serves as vice pole march of the Southern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc.

He is operations accounting manager for wholesale contracts with Southern Company Generation and as contracts manager for Southern Company Services. Bertram is very involved personally in the greater Birmingham community and serves on the board of directors of Easter Seals of Birmingham, the T. L. Hale Sr. Scholarship and Benevolence Fund and for the Alabama Classic Foundation. Orum is also a past board member of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District.

Bertram is an accomplished speaker and an acknowledged leader who will inspire and enlighten all, said Kappa Alpha Psi member Lester Rowls.

The public is invited to attend this event.

Kappa Alpha Psi is a college fraternity, which is comprised of functioning undergraduate and alumni chapters on major college campuses and in cities throughout the country.

The fraternity is the realization of a vision shared commonly by the late Revered Founders Elder Watson Diggs, John Milton Lee, Byron Kenneth Armstrong, Guy Levis Grant, Ezra Dee Alexander, Henry Tourner Asher, Marcus Peter Blakemore, Paul Waymond Caine, Edward Giles Irvin and George Wesley Edmonds.

It was the vision of these men that enabled them over 100 years ago in the school year 1910 - 11, more specifically the night of January 5, 1911, on the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington, Ind., to begin the organization. It is available to, and now enjoyed by, college men everywhere, regardless of their color, religion or national origin.

Kappa Alpha Psi is justly proud that the Constitution has never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of a man from membership merely because of his color, creed or national origin. The constitution of the organization is predicated upon and dedicated to the principles of achievement through a democratic Fraternity.

Chartered and incorporated originally under the laws of the state of Indiana as Kappa Alpha Nu May 15, 1911, the name was changed to Kappa Alpha Psi on a resolution offered and adopted at the grand chapter in December 1914. This change became effective April 15, 1915, on a proclamation by the then grand polemarch, Elder Watson Diggs. Thus, the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter Fraternity in every sense of the designation.

From its inception, and for the next six years, Brother Diggs served as the Grand Polemarch of KAPPA ALPHA PSI Fraternity. Through his leadership and indefatigable application, augmented by the efforts of B.K. Armstrong, and John M. Lee, who comprised the remainder of the original Grand Board of Directors, the infant Fraternity was guided through the most perilous years of its life. Accordingly, much of the credit for the organization's survival through this period is shared by these three men.

From its inception, every endeavor was directed toward establishing the Fraternity upon a strong foundation before embarking on plans of expansion. By the end of the first year, working together, Diggs and Armstrong had completed the ritual and had commenced work on the coat of arms. Work on the latter was completed during the following summer by Diggs, Armstrong and Lee while they were pursuing employment at a hotel in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In selecting a suitable motto, Diggs, Armstrong and Lee solicited the aid of a Professor of Greek Art at Indiana Technical College at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Having adopted a motto which mutually suited them, they carried a sketch of the coat of arms to a commercial engraver in Fort Wayne, from which he made the first metal plate.

For years, in order to safeguard the ritualistic secrets of the Fraternity, Diggs laboriously typed and bound the rituals. It was not until he moved to Indianapolis, Ind., where he met an old German printer in whom he had confidence, that he entrusted the materials of the fraternity to a commercial printer.

In the spring of 1912, Diggs wrote in a little blue examination book the first constitution, which was adopted in 1920 with but a few revisions. This edition remained in use until 1926 when it was supplanted by the codified edition jointly written by Diggs, J. Ernest Wilkins, and W. Ellis Stewart. In 1957 the Constitution again underwent major revision.

Once it was substantially established and provided with a constitution, a ritual, coat of arms, motto and guiding hand in a grand chapter, the fraternity was ready to expand. In the summer of 1912, Diggs visited the University of Illinois at Urbana, Ill., where he met Earl B. Dickerson, president of the Old "Illini Club." This club constituted the nucleus of the University of Illinois Chapter, the Beta, which was chartered February 8, 1913. Gamma Chapter (later changed to Indianapolis Alumni Chapter) was established Dec. 29, 1913, followed by the establishment of the Delta Chapter at the University of Iowa, March 7, 1914. The latter was subsequently changed to the Gamma Chapter, and the designation of Delta assigned to the Wilberforce University Chapter at Wilberforce, Ohio. Epsilon Chapter, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, was established Dec. 4, 1915, as the first chapter in the East.

Elder W. Diggs journeyed from Indiana to give this chapter his personal and official installation, recognition and blessing.

The fraternity then embarked upon an era of expansion. Except for the years of World War I and II, when several Grand Chapter meetings were suspended, Kappa Alpha Psi has grown and prevailed.

The qualities accepted by the fraternity for members include the disposition to live in close companionship with men of similar values, the wisdom to abide by the will of the majority without sacrificing individuality, the discretion to refrain from destructive criticism while seeking to remove the causes of such criticism, the acceptance of responsibility for any effort that moves the group forward, the desire to strive for and ultimately achieve excellence in everything you do, the commitment to train for leadership and the resolution to give lifelong financial support and commitment to the maintenance and development of the fraternity's programs and purposes.