Ceremony celebrates new monument to Black fraternities and sororities
New plaza will showcase Divine Nine chapters at Ohio State
A new plaza at The Ohio State University will celebrate the nine historically Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities at Ohio State.
University leaders, students, faculty and staff joined together at a virtual groundbreaking for the historic National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza this week. The new monument will be located near Hale Hall on the university’s South Oval.
Sabryn Davis-Cannon, president of the Ohio State chapter of the NPHC, said the council appreciates the university’s recognition that such a site is importance to students and alumni.
“We know that this space will be a place that will allow us to showcase not only our chapters, but also to showcase the potential that NPHC has on this campus. This is a space where students can come to feel included and welcomed,” she said.
The plaza will feature a garden terrace, pavilion seating and monuments to the NPHC sororities and fraternities. All nine organizations belonging to the NPHC, known as the Divine Nine, are chartered at Ohio State: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson said the location near Hale Hall is appropriate: Frank Hale, a former associate dean of the graduate school and vice provost for the Office of Minority Affairs, dedicated his life to diversity in higher education and civil rights.
“From this day forward, the history and legacy of our Black Greek organizations will be commemorated as part of the physical landscape of The Ohio State University,” Johnson said. “I know that a more diverse and inclusive university is a richer, more complex and more innovative university. As president, I am committed to advancing diversity and inclusion, not just in words, but in action.”
Council members said the new plaza will increase the visibility and exposure of the Pan-Hellenic community to faculty and staff, potential new Black Greek organization members and incoming students. Establishing a site recognizing the important role of NPHC sororities and fraternities has been a goal for students and alumni for 50 years.
Senior Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers noted that the students leading the groundbreaking ceremony represented the alumni and founders from the nine historically Black Greek-lettered organizations.
“Today, we will ceremonially dig into the ground, signifying the beginning of a process that will create standing monuments not just for years, but for decades into the future,” she said. “This plaza will be a symbol of welcome, hope and pride. It demonstrates Ohio State’s continued commitment to not just creating environments but to building spaces where all are welcomed and celebrated.”
Construction is expected to begin in early 2022.