Nine new monuments dedicated to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, now have a permanent location along Johnson-Ward Pedestrian Walkway. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered Saturday to unveil the new campus addition and celebrate the history and contributions of NPHC organizations.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council, also known as the Divine 9, is composed of nine historically African American sororities and fraternities. The monuments highlight the connection to the past, as previous members of NPHC set the foundation for the present while reaffirming UT’s commitment to inclusion and cultivating a culture of success for current and future students.
“For more than 50 years, the NPHC fraternities and sororities have made this campus more vibrant, nurtured important and supportive communities for our students, and given back through their philanthropic efforts,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman.
Dozens of campus community members and alumni attended the dedication ceremony as part of the university’s Homecoming celebration. Remarks were given by campus administrators including Plowman, Vice Chancellor for Student Life Frank Cuevas, and Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement Tyvi Small, among others.
The university broke ground on the project in 2019 and construction was completed this past summer. Past and current champions of the project—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends—were recognized for their hard work pushing the project forward. For the council, the monuments serve as a permanent visible space to showcase its rich history promoting cultural celebration, academic achievement, political awareness, and social justice.
“The National Pan-Hellenic Council has maintained the legacy of attracting underrepresented students by promoting a sense of belonging through community. By proudly celebrating the things that make us different and the similarities that call us to reach for our collective purpose, we empower all members of the NPHC and spark necessary change,” said Abigail Saulsberry, current NPHC president. “These monuments are symbols of the everlasting progression that we all continue to strive towards and serve as a reminder to our greater campus community that we are here and our experiences do matter.”
NPHC was granted charter at UT in 2007 but individual chapters have been represented on campus since 1970, with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Zeta Delta Chapter and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Iota Beta Chapter being the first to charter at UT. The NPHC community continued to grow, and in 2012 Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. Theta Zeta Chapter joined the campus to complete the Divine 9 at UT. Since 1993, 14 NPHC members have been named Torchbearers, which is the highest honor that a graduating senior can achieve at the university.
Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993, firstname.lastname@example.org)