National History

 

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is the first international fraternal organization to be founded on the campus of a historically black college.

Omega Psi Phi was founded on November 17, 1911, at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The founders were three Howard University undergraduates, -- Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper and Frank Coleman. Joining them was their faculty adviser, Dr. Ernest Everett Just.

From the initials of the Greek phrase meaning, "friendship is essential to the soul," the name Omega Psi Phi was derived. That phrase was selected as the motto.

Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift were adopted as Cardinal Principles.

On November 23, 1911 in Thirkield Hall, Love became the first Grand Basileus (National President). Cooper and Coleman were selected to be the Grand Keeper of the Records (National Secretary) and Grand Keeper of Seals (National Treasurer), respectively. Eleven Howard University undergraduate men were selected to be the charter members.

Alpha Chapter was organized with fourteen charter members on December 15, 1911. Love, Cooper and Coleman were elected the chapter’s first Basileus, Keeper of Records, and Keeper of Seals, respectively.

Cooper became the fraternity’s second Grand Basileus in 1912 and authorized the investigation of a proposed second chapter at Lincoln University, Penn.

Love was elected as the third Grand Basileus in 1912 and served until 1915.
In 1912, Howard University officials did not initially recognize the fraternity as a national organization and Omega Psi Phi’s leadership refused to only accept local recognition. As a result, the fraternity operated without official sanction, until the university withdrew its opposition in 1914, the same year that the Beta Chapter was chartered at Lincoln University.

 

 

OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY, INC.

IOTA PHI Chapter

Iota Phi Chapter Overview

 

The Iota Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was founded in 1925 in Pittsburgh, PA.  We have enjoyed a unique bond that includes brothers that range from 19 to over 90 years old. Omicron Psi (University of Pittsburgh) was born from the Iota Phi Chapter in 1927 and most undergraduate chapters in Southwestern PA were chartered  through Omicron Psi. This blend of young and old is a characteristic that we proudly embrace.

 

Our origin connects directly with the African American history of Pittsburgh.The charter members of Iota Phi included prominent businessmen, architects, educators, government officials and athletes. Even during our early years, the Omega footprint exists throughout south western Pennsylvania.

 

We have consistently maintained a financial membership of close to 100 and remain a thoroughly immersed group of members with a lifelong mission of making a positive contribution to the community. Since our chapter’s inception, we have customized our programs and services in response to the needs of the community. The following are examples of our most recent programs/activities:
 

  • During the past 10 years we have recognized more than 75 professionals for their achievement and extraordinary contributions to our community. The Omega Achievement Wee/ Formal has become a historically regional iconic event

 

  • Since 1984, we have awarded over 200 high school seniors with college

scholarships totaling more than $350,000 to further their education.
 

  • Through our Thanksgiving dinner giveaway program, we have collaborated with other local businesses and organizations to donate over 5,000 Thanksgiving dinner baskets to families in need from all over the Pittsburgh area.
     

  • Over the last 25 years, we have coordinated a Children’s Christmas party at

our fraternity center. This program provides toys, a live band, treats, books, a train display and photos with Santa to hundreds of children. More than 6,250 kids have

participated in this charitable program since its inception.

 

  • During the last 25 years our HBCU Tour has allowed over 2,000 high

school students from Allegheny County and beyond to enjoy and learn from the HBCU experience.

 

  • The Omega Dr. Carter G Woodson Academy is also one of our signature

programs. The program runs annually for 10 consecutive Saturdays from February to spring. Our talented and dedicated members teach courses in science, technology,

engineering, art, math and African American History to 75 youth ages 5-17.
 

  • We have coordinated a long list of successful social events.  The Omega Labor Day Weekend and Mardi Gras are annual fundraisers that are widely supported by the NPHC, friends, family, and loved ones across the country and throughout the City of Pittsburgh.  

 

  • The Iota Phi Chapter hosted the 1970 Grand Conclave.  In addition, we hosted the 2nd District Conferences of 1946, 1955, 1963, 1970, 1988, and 2007.  

 

The Iota Phi Chapter is the only member of Pittsburgh’s  NPHC that owns and operates its own facility. It was purposely purchased with intent to serve an immediate need of young African American men in the Larimer community. 123 Meadow street has been the home of the Steel City Ques since 1992.