Earlier this year, prominent leaders of the Cleveland community—including President Eric W. Kaler and Robert L. Solomon, vice president of the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity—joined the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for a celebratory event on campus. The occasion? A groundbreaking ceremony for the organization’s Alpha Impact Project monument, worth over $20,000, which will stand on the engineering quad for years to come. Members of the community can attend an unveiling of the monument Saturday, May 13; the ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. in front of Eldred Hall.
As the first of its kind within the Cleveland area, the monument commemorates the contributions of the Pi chapter and its members across collegiate campuses in the Greater Cleveland area (and beyond) over the last 108 years. Standing seven feet tall, the monument also represents Alpha Phi Alpha’s contribution to society as the oldest intercollegiate, historically Black fraternity. It will include an additional landmark to recognize members who donated toward the two-year project.
“We want this project to represent the contributions of Alpha Phi Alpha but also the Divine Nine [or National Pan-Hellenic Council] to CWRU and the greater Cleveland community,” noted fraternity member Clarence “Tre” Armstrong (CWR ’21), who will graduate with a master’s in medical physiology next week.
A safe space
Since its inception in 1914, the Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has pushed the organization’s national agenda on the campus of Case Western Reserve University by developing leaders, fostering unity and promoting academic excellence.
“We helped create a safe place for Black men to gather and find brotherhood on the campuses of the Case School of Applied Science and the Western Reserve University,” Armstrong said.
Initially created due to racial isolation and discrimination, the chapter later extended membership to men interested in joining the fraternity at other collegiate institutions in Cleveland, such as John Carroll University and Cleveland State University.
A lasting legacy
From notable civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. to Case Western Reserve alumnus Mayor Justin Bibb (LAW ‘18, MGT ‘18) and its thousands of members around the world, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. can be recognized for its many impressive members and their contributions to society through continual acts of service and advocacy.
At Case Western Reserve, members of Alpha Phi Alpha have helped enrich the university campus in countless ways—from the efforts of Frank “Doc” Kelker (ADL ’38), who endowed a scholarship at the university, to those of Phillip Rowland-Seymour, who is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion for medical education at the School of Medicine.