Help us honor NPHC
Dear Members of the Appalachian Community,
Across the United States, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have developed a tradition of providing a gathering space for the historically black Greek-letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), often collectively called the Divine Nine. For well over 50 years, it has been an established tradition for institutions to provide these plots as a visible way to commemorate legacies of the Divine Nine on their campuses.
I am pleased to share with you that Appalachian will soon honor its rich cultural heritage through this tradition. Seven of the nine organizations are represented at Appalachian, and the university is creating a NPHC plots and gardens space for them. This project places Appalachian among a very few predominantly white institutions (PWIs) that pay tribute to the legacy of African-American Greek life.
Having this space on our campus signifies yet another way that the University of North Carolina System and Appalachian value diversity and inclusive excellence and the benefits these principles bring to the entire university community.
How did it happen?
Students have been advocating for this space for close to 10 years. When Chancellor Everts arrived on our campus, students, faculty and staff brought the idea to her attention and she was immediately supportive of the project. Students and staff began working together in earnest to research how other campuses have developed, designed and funded their NPHC plots, and in June of this year presented their findings, along with a conceptual design, to Appalachian's Board of Trustees.
During Appalachian’s 2017 Homecoming festivities, Chancellor Everts dedicated space for the NPHC at a site located next to the Veterans Memorial in front of I.G. Greer Hall, near the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building.
At this event, two of our students — Jaelyn Felder, president of the NPHC at Appalachian, and Malik Hargrave, chair of the Chancellor's Student Advisory Board for Diversity Recruitment — unveiled a conceptual design for the plots and gardens with support from Everts and the Board of Trustees.
Appalachian’s NPHC students and alumni are leaders who effect real and powerful change, on campus and in the communities where they live and work. Being a part of establishing the first black Greek chapters on our campus and a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha, I commend our leadership for embracing and celebrating the contributions of the Divine Nine in such a respectful manner.
Before a formal fundraising effort could begin, individuals immediately began offering financial support as a personal response to this significant announcement. More than 40 alumni, faculty and staff have already given over $35,000 to jump-start this means of honoring diversity and inclusion. Let’s capitalize on that spirit and enthusiasm.
Also, Appalachian’s student members of NPHC need support beyond this project. Our aspiration is to raise a total of $100,000 to complete the plots and gardens and to establish a scholarship endowment that recognizes the accomplishments of our students and encourages their leadership.
We are offering special recognition opportunities for leadership gifts at the $1,000 and $5,000 levels, but it is important to know that gifts of every size are meaningful as we work together to make this long-awaited dream a reality.
Dr. Willie C. Fleming ’80 ’84
Chief Diversity Officer
Member, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Pi Nu Chapter