BLOOMINGTON, IN - As part of their national meeting and centennial celebration in Indianapolis, thousands of delegates of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. have begun a "pilgrimage" to Indiana University Bloomington, where the organization was founded 100 years ago.
Kappa Alpha Psi was the second historically black fraternity incorporated as a national organization.
Elder Watson Diggs and nine other African American students at IU embraced a mutual vision to form a fraternity that today has 730 chapters and 120,000 members worldwide.
The fraternity is holding its 80th Grand Chapter Meeting and Centennial Celebration through July 10. More than 20,000 are expected to gather for the Centennial Celebration.
While most events will take place in Indianapolis, today (July 7) about 3,500 members of Kappa Alpha Psi are expected to visit IU Bloomington and places where the founders lived and learned.
The convention will have an estimated economic impact of between $25 million and $28 million for Indianapolis.
"The weeks that they picked to celebrate their 100th anniversary are perfect for the city. The city has done a perfect job of cultivating the business and we are excited to have them," said Jeff Smith, managing partner at the restaurant.
"We are very pleased to help Kappa Alpha Psi celebrate this great milestone in its history and in the life of Indiana University," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "Kappa Alpha Psi is the first national fraternity to be founded at IU, and is a great point of pride for this university.
"The fraternity has grown into one of the leading African American fraternities in the nation and its founding here was one of many remarkable events that have helped transform Bloomington into one of the jewels of the Midwest," McRobbie said.
"The pilgrimage of Kappas to Bloomington and the Alpha Chapter represents a journey of exploration into the roots of their fraternal heritage and the legacy of 100 years of achievement in every field of human endeavor," added Edwin C. Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and a former vice polemarch of the Alpha Chapter at IU. "Just as the history of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity started with Indiana University, the history of Indiana University cannot be told without reference to the contributions of Kappa Alpha Psi."