In the history of K-State, there have been many opportunities for multicultural students to get involved. One of the newest additions to the K-State campus has been the Theta Eta chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., which joined into K-State this past weekend.
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. was founded nationally at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md. on Sept. 19, 1963. On the fraternity’s national 50th anniversary, the Theta Eta chapter was brought to K-State. This is the first time the Iotas have been at K-State and this is the only chapter of Iota Phi Theta fraternity in the entire state of Kansas.
“It’s an overwhelming feeling to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Zachary Cooper, vice president of Iota and freshman in marketing. “It’s an amazing feeling being a chartered member, not only for this chapter but for the entire state. In the international perspective, everyone will know about Theta Eta chapter at Kansas State University.”
Throughout the entire two-year process, Tyrone Williams, president of Iota and senior in dance, social economics and business management, has been a part of it. Williams wanted to bring Iota to K-State in order for K-State to have all nine historically African-American greek chapters affiliated with the Divine Nine.
Joseph McNeil, resident of Overland Park, dean of pledges for Iota and state coordinator of Iota for Kansas and Missouri, said there are a couple of things that make this important to K-State and Manhattan. McNeal said that students will now be able to chose from all five Divine Nine fraternity chapters.
McNeil also said the men that were chosen for the first line to cross Iota at K-State have the drive and determination to be outstanding in their service to the K-State and Manhattan communities. He said he is excited to see the service these members bring to K-State and Manhattan.
The other three members who crossed with Williams and Cooper were Trevelle Stewart, treasurer of Iota and junior in fine arts, and Melvin Thomas and Manuel Bryant, who both live in Warrensburg, Kan. and take online courses through K-State.
“To me, Iota means starting a tradition and building that up for future men,” Cooper said. “We are starting history here. This organization has been cherished by so many people before I was even born, and it will be cherished long after all of us are gone. It will be a lifelong endeavor for all of us involved in this fraternity.”
Williams said the men of the inaugural line of Iota were challenged. He said the men worked to be better students, better friends, better siblings and better brothers. Williams also said that one of the most important parts of the Iota constitution that pertained to the inaugural line was “each man, though one man among many men, is still very much himself with or without Iota.”
Williams and Cooper both said that with Iota being chartered at K-State, they have trail-blazed the path for future leaders at K-State. They both said they are ready to make an impact on this campus and in the community.
“By having Iota here, it means this campus has finally embraced cultural edification,” Williams said. “This community is able to say this campus fully respects and are advocates for these nontraditional student organizations. We are not resting upon other organizations. We have allowed students to be able to fully choose for themselves which organization they want to be a part of, if they are interested in being a part of NPHC [National Pan-Hellenic Council] greek chapters.”