Our History

In our 76 years we have had the privilege of having 7 past District Representatives which is the most out of any chapter in the 12th District. We are the only chapter west of the Colorado Rockies with a fraternity house and we stand as the 3rd largest chapter in the 12th District and the largest in Northern California. We the brothers of Sigma Iota pride ourselves in being pioneers in the 12th District and continue to stand ready in the cause of Omega!

First Graduate Chapter Chartered in the 12th District

In the early 40’s there were few Omega men living in San Francisco and Oakland.  Under the leadership of Bro. Earl L. Jones, (first chapter KRS), Sigma Iota Chapter was chartered in San Francisco for Omega men in the Bay Area.  Meetings and activities were rotated between San Francisco and Oakland.   (Pi Chi Chapter History Summary, 1955).

The Oracle, November 1946 reported, “We are indebted to Brother Earl L. Jones for his diligent efforts in bringing together as a body all Brothers in the Bay Area.  He has been actively engaged for most of the war years in his attempts.  Now that the conflict is over we have succeeded, through Brother Jones’ persistent campaigning.  Twenty-two Brothers met at the home of Brother James E. Stratten, March 13, 1946.  From there we started the ball to rolling.  In May Brother Fred Weaver of Washington, D. C., was sent out by the Grand National Basileus to look in on us, and to do whatever he could to help us along.  We were very glad to have had Brother Weaver with us, and we are sure that his timely suggestions saved much time in organization.  Each meeting brought out new Brothers until our roster now includes the names of more than fifty Brothers in the Bay Area.  From this list we have thirty-eight financial Brothers.  Sigma Iota Chapter held its installation of Officers Program at the Fifteenth Street A.M.E. Church in Oakland, California, June 30, 1946.” Bro. Earl A.Ellis, Chapter Editor.

Sigma Iota Chapter held its first installation of Officers Program at the Fifteenth Street A.M. E. Church in Oakland, California, June 30, 1946.  The officers that were installed included:  Bro. James E. Stratten, Basileus, Bro. Richard Clark, Vice-Basileus, Bro. Earl L. Jones, KRS, Bro. Thornton M. Betts, KF, Bro. Earl. A. Ellis, Chapter Editor, Bro. Warren Morse, KP, Bro. Patrick L. Jackson, Dean of Pledges, and Bro. Benjamin F. Clark, Chaplain. (Oracle, November 1946, p. 18).

Up until 1946, there were only two chapters in California. Lambda Chapter was chartered at the University of Southern California, May 3, 1923.  As recorded in the June 1925 Oracle, “In September, 1924, Bro. Lee J. Purnell requested the permission of the Supreme Council to organize a chapter of Omega in Berkeley, California—Epsilon Psi.  Authority was granted him on the 26th of September 1924.   It was not until the 9th of March 1925 that the charter members of this new organization held their first initiation.  In addition to Bro. Purnell, Brother Ecstine Ragland of Lambda was present along with four other brothers.” (Note:  Epsilon Psi was later listed as inactive in the December 1936 Oracle and wasn’t reactivated until 1953).

At this time, California was assigned to the Ninth District along with Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.  In 1942 the Fraternity was redistributed to provide for twelve Districts.  The Twelfth District was comprised of California, Arizona and Washington.  (Gill p. 29). Bro. Ralph Vaughan (Lambda Chapter) was designated the 12th District Representative and was given the charge by the national office to lay the foundation for expanding the chapters in the 12th District while WWII was still being waged.

Four chapters were chartered in 1946.  Alpha Epsilon, University of Arizona (January 1, 1946), Sigma Iota, San Francisco (May 14, 1946), Phi Iota, Phoenix (October 1, 1946), and Lambda Omicron, Los Angeles (December 16, 1946).

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.

Omega built a strong and effective force of men dedicated to its cardinal principles of manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated