By Dr. Sharon H. Porter | Friday, November 17, 2023 | 6:00 AM ET
Today's Divine Nine Member Spotlight is sponsored by the Que Dog Edition Video Release Party
Join Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine in celebrating the incredible influence of the members of the Divine Nine! Discover the rich legacy and vibrant impact of these exceptional members in our special Divine Nine Spotlight!
From Alpha to Omega, we're shining a spotlight on the trailblazers, scholars, leaders, and community advocates who make up the Divine Nine. Get ready to dive into the history, achievements, and empowering stories of the members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations that continue to shape our society.
Stay tuned for the exclusive interviews, captivating profiles, and extraordinary journeys of the Divine Nine members on the Vision & Purpose Podcast and upcoming print issues.
Join the conversation and share your thoughts on the incredible impact of these inspiring individuals. Stay tuned for an issue you don't want to miss!
Who or what inspired you to become a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.?
I’ve been fortunate to be around Omega men all through my formative years in the community through respected elders, older friends, and church members. I was impressed with their service to the community and helping as role models to develop teens. When the opportunity to be a pledge in developing a new chapter at Elon College (n/k/a Elon University) in the Spring of 1984, I applied, was accepted, pledged, and became a member.
And so began the journey into Omega Psi Phi, Inc. and the Sigma Mu Chapter. Our elder brothers pledged off campus at another chapter. My four other line brothers were the first Divine 9 fraternity to pledge on campus and helped pave the way for other black fraternities and sororities going forward at Elon. The fraternity’s cardinal principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift helped instill the foundation of Smitty’s Notes which has served the Winston-Salem, North Carolina community for 26 years.
About Jeffrey L. Smith
Jeffrey L. Smith received a BA degree in Public Administration from Elon University. In 1986 he returned to Winston-Salem and worked with Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice, PLLC as an Environmental and Toxic Tort Litigation Paralegal. In 1996 he joined the legal department of Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC as a litigation paralegal. He retired in 2018. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi, Inc., Fraternity Spring 1984 Sigma Mu Chapter (Elon University).
Jeff is the owner of the grassroots e-newsletter – Smitty’s Notes. This publication reaches over 15,000 people in and around the Winston-Salem community, and SmittysNotes.com, a community resource website. Jeff wrote a weekly column about news and events in the arts and entertainment community in Relish Magazine, radio with WHTZ –FM and television and web with WXII-12.
Jeff is a graduate, past or current board member of the following: ) Leadership Winston-Salem Alumni Council 2022 – present, City of Winston-Salem Citizens Police Academy Graduate – 2022, Leadership North Carolina – Class 29 (2022), City of Winston-Salem Citizens Fire Academy Graduate – 2018, City of Winston-Salem University Graduate - 2014", U. S. Army War College National Security Seminar Participant – 2011, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Advisory Panel 2008 – 2011, Center for Creative Leadership - Leadership Development Program (LDP) – 2008, Piedmont Triad Partnership Leadership Institute (PTLI) – 2008, Millennium Fund Board Member 2006 – present, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Arts Council, Trustee ~ 2000 to 2005, Leadership Winston-Salem Class of 2000, Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, Board of Directors Member ~ 1999 to 2005
Awards: 2018 – Trellis Supportive Care “Living Your Best Life” Award, 2011 - Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award, 2007 - The Business Journal of the Triad – “The Most Influential People in the Triad”, 2005 The Business Journal of the Triad – ”Fifty Most Influential People in the Triad”.
He has been mentioned in national publications such as the New York Times Magazine, Politico.com, and numerous local, regional, and state publications.
About Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a historically black college.
On the evening of November 17, 1911, Omega Psi Phi was founded inside the Science Building (later renamed Thirkield Hall) at Howard University located in Washington, D.C. The founders were three undergraduates — Edgar Amos Love, Oscar James Cooper, and Frank Coleman. Joining them was their faculty adviser, 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, Edgar A. Love became the first Grand Basileus (National President). Oscar J. Cooper and Frank Coleman were selected to be the Grand Keeper of the Records (National Secretary) and Grand Keeper of Seals (National Treasurer), respectively. Eleven undergraduate men were selected to become the charter members.
About the Divine Nine
The Divine Nine, formally known as, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is a collaborative umbrella council composed of nine historically African American fraternities and sororities, and also referred to as Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs). The NPHC was formed as a permanent organization on May 10, 1930, on the campus of Howard University, in Washington, D.C., with Matthew W. Bullock as the active Chairman and B. Beatrix Scott as Vice-Chairman. NPHC was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois in 1937.
The council promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other media for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.
Each constituent member organization determines its own strategic direction and program agenda. Today, the primary purpose and focus of member organizations remains camaraderie and academic excellence for its members and service to the communities they serve. Each promotes community awareness and action through educational, economic, and cultural service activities.
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