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Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Chapter Arrives on Campus

Stetson University has approved a new chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and its four charter members are planning a ceremony and other events to raise awareness this fall about the historically Black Greek Letter Organization.

The four young men sit in chairs side by side with a banner for the fraternity.

The four charter members of the Stetson chapter are, from left: Tony Latiff, Bryan Jordan, Grant Hodges and Zane Smith.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. is among the nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), collectively known as “The Divine Nine.” The fraternity joins the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. already on Stetson’s DeLand campus.

“It’s easy for a student on a college campus to feel like a number, especially the minority student on a predominantly white campus,” said Jerrelle D. Williams, a member of the Orlando Graduate Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

“Having Black Greek Letter Organizations gives the ability to provide a place where students can connect with like individuals, build bonds and friendships that last a lifetime, develop as leaders, and have a positive impact on the campus and the community you serve,” he said.

Two years ago, Phi Beta Sigma formed an exploratory committee to consider starting the chapter and met with Stetson administrators last year. The university was interested from the start in adding the new chapter.

Lua Hancock

“We have had a long-standing goal to bring more National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations to our campus to serve our amazing, diverse student body,” said Lua Hancock, Ed.D., Stetson’s Vice President for Campus Life and Student Success. “Phi Beta Sigma’s commitment to social engagement is impressive and aligns well with Stetson’s mission.”

The fraternity received final approval from Stetson in May to start the chapter and initiated four charter members, student-athletes Tony Latiff, Bryan Jordan, Grant Hodges and Zane Smith. The fraternity will not have its own house on campus this fall but is “not opposed to working toward having one,” Williams said.

Long group shot of family with the four young men as they hold a banner with the fraterniy's crest.

The four charter members of Phi Beta Sigma at Stetson celebrate the formation of the new chapter with their family members.

“The brothers are in the process of planning a chartering ceremony and to set aside time to table in high traffic areas on the campus to bring awareness to our fraternity,” Williams said. “In fall of 2018, we expect to potentially welcome a minimum of five additional members into the fraternity.”

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1914 by three African-American male students who wanted to “exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service,” according to the Phi Beta Sigma website. Of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities, it is among the ones most committed to community service.

Williams said the fraternity focuses on social action, education and better business. That includes educating fraternity brothers and the community on health issues, improving academic achievement and literacy for students through an Adopt-A-School program, and helping to improve Black/Minority-owned businesses. The new Stetson chapter plans to work with Stetson and the DeLand community on these areas.

“We are excited about this partnership with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., as we feel strongly that the goals and mission of inclusive excellence, fraternal brotherhood and student success align closely between the mission and goals of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Stetson University as we continue to develop students,” said Amanda Wahba, Stetson’s Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Involvement for Student Development and Campus Vibrancy.

“As we begin the chartering process for the organization, we look forward to working with both Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and the four newly initiated collegiate members to make this an opportunity for more of our male students to find ways to connect,” she said.

For more information on membership eligibility, visit the Phi Beta Sigma website. For questions or interest in Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., please email one of the four charter members at Stetson, email orlandosigmas@live.com or contact Stetson’s Assistant Director Office of Fraternity and Sorority Involvement at awahba@stetson.edu.  

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