Atlanta is buzzing with excitement as the highly esteemed Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., one of the nation’s revered Black Greek-letter organizations, gears up to commemorate its momentous 60th Anniversary at the upcoming 39th Biennial Conclave. The grand celebration is set to kick off with a Public Meeting on Thursday evening, July 27, 2023, at the elegant Ravinia Ballroom in the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, located at 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Road. This auspicious occasion will open the fraternity’s doors to the public, offering a glimpse into its rich legacy of brotherhood, service, and dedication to progress.
Distinguished guests, public officials, and representatives from various National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations will grace the event, fostering an atmosphere of camaraderie and shared history. Notable figures such as Cobb County District 2 Commissioner Jerica Richardson, Fulton County District 4 Commissioner Natalie Hall, and DeKalb County District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson will deliver stirring remarks, adding to the significance of the celebration. Additionally, the event will be graced by senior staff members from United States Representative Nikema Williams’ (GA-05) office and United States Senators Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff’s offices, who will contribute their thoughts to the occasion.
The Public Meeting promises to be a poignant moment as esteemed personalities, including Dr. David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, and Rev. Al Sharpton, the distinguished president of the National Action Network, send in their recorded remarks via video. Moreover, the presence of Founder Brother Lonnie Spruill, Jr., a revered figure within Iota Phi Theta and highly respected across the National Pan-Hellenic Council family, will add a touch of honor to the event. Founder Spruill’s continued involvement and service through his membership in the Gamma Omicron Omega Alumni Chapter in Baltimore, Maryland, have left an indelible mark on the fraternity’s legacy.
As the fraternity celebrates its 60 years of existence, it will also pay homage to the pioneering Brothers who were initiated into the organization as far back as 1964. Their presence will undoubtedly evoke a sense of nostalgia, reminding attendees of the fraternity’s enduring commitment to unity and progress.
Rooted in the rich tradition of Divine 9 organizations, the ‘Public Meeting’ serves as an opportunity to enlighten the broader public about the illustrious history, accomplishments, and contributions of Black Greek-letter fraternities and sororities. Iota Phi Theta Fraternity’s story is intricately woven into the fabric of Black progress in the United States, with its origins deeply rooted in the spirited fight against Jim Crow segregation in Baltimore.
Addressing the gathering during the Public Meeting, the 23rd International Grand Polaris of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Dr. Sean D. Housen, Sr., will undoubtedly infuse the occasion with his passion and dedication to the organization’s ideals. Elected to the leadership position in 2021 after serving as International Grand Vice Polaris, Dr. Housen exemplifies the fraternity’s commitment to leadership and community service.
Over the past six decades, Iotas have left an indelible mark across various professional fields and endeavors, contributing to the progress of society in profound ways. From prosecutors to attorneys, journalists to police chiefs, the influence of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity can be felt far and wide. Esteemed individuals such as Essex County New Jersey Prosecutor Ted Stephens, the 15th Grand Polaris; attorney Benjamin Taylor, the first Black president of the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors; award-winning journalist Mike Frisby, former White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal; Chief Albert Sally, the first Black police chief of Maplewood, New Jersey; NAACP National Director of the Youth & College Division, Wisdom Cole; civil rights trial attorney Keenan Saulter; and Dr. Stephen Ray, Jr., former president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, are among the distinguished figures who emerged from the fraternity.
With sights set on a future of continued excellence, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., eagerly anticipates its Centennial celebration in 2063. As the 60th Anniversary celebration approaches, the fraternity embraces its history while looking ahead to a brighter future, leaving an indelible mark on American society through its enduring legacy of brotherhood and service. Join us as we embark on this momentous journey, shaping leaders and inspiring progress for years to come.