UT’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for nine new monuments dedicated to the council earlier this month on Johnson-Ward Pedestrian Walkway. The monuments will be a symbol of the university’s commitment to celebrating diversity and inclusion. Each monument represents one of the nine historically African American sororities and fraternities within NPHC.
For the council, these monuments will create a permanent visible space to showcase its rich culture and its history of creating opportunities to engage diverse communities across campus.
“The addition of our new NPHC monuments will help create a visible representation of mattering and belonging, lighting the way for past, present, and future Vols,” said Tenea Lowery-McGhee, assistant director of the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life.
Several hundred current students, staff, alumni, and Knoxville community members attended the groundbreaking celebration. Remarks were given by campus administrators including Chancellor Donde Plowman, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement Tyvi Small, and Vice Chancellor for Student Life Vincent Carilli.
Chancellor Plowman noted her top priority is ensuring students know they matter on campus and that they belong at UT. She thanked everyone involved with the project and commended NPHC sororities and fraternities.
“Our NPHC sororities and fraternities have always had an important place at the University of Tennessee, making our campus community more vibrant and expanding the opportunities for students to be engaged in leadership development,” Plowman said.
This year marks 50 years since NPHC chartered its first chapter on campus—Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Zeta Delta Chapter. Soon after, many other NPHC organizations were chartered, including the first NPHC fraternity in 1971—Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Iota Beta Chapter. Over the past four years, NPHC has grown more than 500 percent, demonstrating the importance of the council and its increasing impact on the campus community in promoting cultural celebration, academic achievement, political awareness, and social justice.
NPHC President Taylor Payne is thankful for the visibility for the council.
“We feel honored and elated that our hard work has been able to make an impact on this campus and that campus leadership has taken the time to help us move forward with our vision,” Payne said. “It’s been a long time coming, but we as a council and Greek community couldn’t be happier.”
Alumni are also encouraged by the addition of the monuments.
Xavier Greer, a recent UT graduate and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. member, said, “It means a lot to see UT invest in the NPHC community. As an alumni, it brings a sense of pride to know underrepresented groups on campus are getting the recognition they deserve.”
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