Beta Thru The Years
The new decade brought forth the initiation of The Twenty Pearls on February 17, 1990. These young men were scholars, athletes, radio campus DJs and leaders in various campus organizations. They would be the last Beta Chapter line to march on the campus of Lincoln University as this portion of the process was abolished in the summer of 1990. The first order of business was the election of officers: Donald Glenn (Basileus), Paul Parker (Vice-Basileus), Richard Rogers (Keeper of Records and Seal), John Brisco (Keeper of Finance), Michael Dennis (Keeper of Peace) and Charles Clemmons (Chaplain).
One of the first programs they completed was to talk with the students at Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia, PA. The chapter participated in other community service programs such as mentoring in Oxford Village, a proclamation for thought consciousness, campus clean-ups and supporting other organizations on campus. At the Lincoln University 1990 Pan-Hellenic Step Show the brothers took 1st place. In May of 1990, the Twenty Pearls were reduced to 16. Basileus John Brisco, Vice Basileus Randolph Lucas, Keeper of Records and Seal Richard Rogers, Keeper of Finance Raymond Sallay, Keeper of Peace Michael Dennis, and Chaplain Charles Clemmons were elected as officers for the 1990-1991 school year. During the next school year, the chapter issued many proclamations on Apartheid, student scholarship, community and campus uplift. The chapter in conjunction with the Student Government Association sponsored the viewing of a BET Greek Forum via satellite. The brothers were examples of scholastic achievement by having the highest GPA among Greek-lettered organizations, not to mention being named the NAACP Male Greek Lettered Chapter of the Year.
After a two-year hiatus and period of inactivity on the campus, “The 18 Rebels”, under the guidance of Dr. Frank Coleman and Christopher Curry, crossed into Omega land on May 20, 1993. With respect and reverence for the path of tradition and distinction established and instilled by their immediate prophytes, The 20 Pearls, and the graduate brothers of Beta Chapter, the 18 Rebels embarked on their own mission of excellence that would blaze a trail and set the standard for the remainder of the last decade of the 20th Century at Lincoln University. In setting a new trail, while honoring legacy and tradition, these vanguards were at the forefront in the making of two lines in the Spring Semesters of 1994, “The 8 Sons of Sacrifice” and 1995, “The Traumatic 3.” These two lines consisting of men with like ideals and character that were attuned with the ideals and attainment of The 18 Rebels, would go on to continue the standard of excellence, perpetuating Beta’s outstanding legacy established by brothers of Beta’s past. Beta’s re-emergence and significant contributions to Lincoln’s campus would not have been as successful as it was had it not been for the strong leadership at the helm to steer the chapter to new heights. In the fall semester of 1993, under the leadership of Basileus Damon Reed, the chapter began its meteoric rise in reestablishing its status as a hallmark for other campus organizations to follow. This included Beta being named the 2nd District Undergraduate Chapter of the Year for 93-94. With the seamless transition in stewardship to Brother Kwame Dow in the fall 1994 school year, Beta Chapter maintained the level of consistency that the brothers, the campus, and the community had come to expect, respect, and admire. It must be noted that Brother Kwame Dow is now the Basileus of the Tau Tau Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., the largest graduate chapter in the 12th District. It is at Beta Chapter where Brother Dow honed his leadershipskills, further affirming that Beta breeds excellence!
Beginning in the fall of 1993, Beta Chapter took the campus and community at large by storm, becoming not only the leading Greek letter organization, but the leading campus organization as a whole. The 18 Rebels implemented service programs and activities that were relevant and germane to the student body and surrounding communities at that time. These activities included the creation and development of youth mentorship and tutoring programs with Lincoln Village, which spanned from the fall of 1993 through the spring of 1995. Some of their noteworthy service projects included the following: the Halloween tour, in conjunction with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. for the youth of Lincoln Village, Adopt-A-Highway, campus beautification programs, and canned food drives for needy families.
With regard to academic and campus achievement, the Brothers hosted “The Back to Beta Weekend”, which commemorated and celebrated 80 years of existence for Beta Chapter. Beta Chapter was honored as the organization with the highest GPA during both the 1994 and 1995 academic school years, was the recipients of the Campus Organization of the Year Award, both in 1994 and 1995 respectively, and was the champion of the 1994 National Pan Hellenic Council Step Show. Brothers Lamar Thompson, Gregory Gruel, Shawn Joseph, and Earl L. Chase were inducted into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society for upperclassmen academically in the top 10% of their class. Brothers Conrad Hampton and Christopher Stoudemire were inducted into the Psi Chi National Honor Society for Psychology Majors, while Brothers Norman Bell, Michael Burton, and Nigel Powell were inducted into the Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society for Criminal Justice Majors. Brothers Earl L. Chase and Shawn Joseph served as officers in Student Government. Michael Taylor was the 1993 800m NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Champion. Brothers Ray Curry, Andre Carr, and Phene Jean-Claude were star athletes on the Lincoln University’s men’s basketball and soccer teams respectively.
Lastly, the brothers of Beta Chapter truly exemplified the principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance, and Uplift, it was not uncommon for the brothers to create and engage in social activities that uplifted the campus community as well. Putting On The Hits, the Bare As You Dare Pool Party, Tuck-Ins, and the Back To Beta Booty Bash were just some of the events that always boosted the campus’ spirits. To this day, if you were to poll any alumni who attended Lincoln during the years of 1993-1995, they would state emphatically, without pause or delay, simply the following, “The Ques ran the yard!”
1996 saw the initiation of the Five Faces of Fatality and with it the continued flourishment of Beta Chapter enhancing the brand on Lincoln’s campus and in the Oxford, PA area. The officers for the 1996-1997 school year were as follows: Basileus Thomas Conklin, Vice Basileus Jamal Parker, Keeper of Records and Seal Bertram Lawson, and Keeper of Finance Raymond Curry. During this year brothers continued to progress the chapter with outstanding programs and service efforts. Some of their notable programs included the Above the Rim Outdoor Basketball Tournament, a Night of Dinner and Poetry, and Black Women’s Appreciation Day. The brothers also lead forums that opened discussions on campus issues such as relationships on college campuses, sexually transmitted diseases, and the debate of why fraternities are not gangs.
The Fall of 1996 presented Beta Chapter with what would considered a challenging circumstance. The majority of the initiates of the 18 Rebels (Beta Spr. 1993) and the 8 Sons of Sacrifice (Beta, Spr. 1994) had graduated. Beta Chapter was left with 8 brothers on campus and 4 of them were neophytes of Beta Chapter’s Sprig 1996 line “The 5 Faces of Fatality” (Bro. Gerard Leotaud had gone to study abroad in Spain for this semester). This collection of brothers would actively seek guidance from their prophytes but would form an unprecedented bond with Bro. Christopher Stoudemire. Bro. Stoudemire’s spontaneous visits to the campus would provide insight to the mysteries of Omega as well as the continued development of the chapter during this decade. As the fall semester progressed, these 8 men would provide programs that would enrich the student body of Lincoln University. The brothers of Beta Chapter would host study halls during mid term week. The chapter would assist the University in hosting its scheduled convocation series for the semester. With so much activity occurring, the chapter found itself on the verge of Lincoln University’s homecoming. With this homecoming being the first homecoming for 4 brothers as Omega Men the chapter knew that it had to carry on the traditions that had been set prior to their initiation. Alumni brothers of Beta Chapter would be present for the Lincoln University Pep-Rally Step Show and the Greek Sing. With this in mind, Bro. Bertram Lawson called Bro. Christopher Stoudemire and humbly ask for his assistance for preparation and guidance for these events. Bro. Stoudemire agreed and immediately put these neophytes through hours of daily step practice. Some would say that these step practices were vigorous and intense. Some may have even questioned the legality of his methods but his goal was to ensure that the tradition of precision, a standard to which all Beta brothers who marched prior, was to be upheld. After several grueling weeks of preparation and practice, the brothers had a show that met the standards of Bro. Stoudemire and Beta Chapter. Although the show was created and suitable for a 5 man team it was truly designed for 6 brothers. The brothers of Beta Chapter discussed the idea of asking Bro. Stoudemire to join them for the show. Bro. Stoudemire would return to the campus to discuss the final details of the show and to his surprise he was asked to join his neophytes in the Lincoln University Pep Rally. Bro. Stoudemire considered the offer and informed his neophytes that he would join them. With his addition, Lincoln University was treated toa homecoming pep-rally show that is still revered to this day.
The Fall semester would conclude and the chapter would complete several successful programs. The brothers held their annual achievement week program and Bro. Bertram Lawson was named Beta Chapter’s 1996 Omega Man of the Year. The chapter would also see one of top scholars Bro. Shawn Joseph complete his degree and move onto to pursue his graduate studies. As the spring semester began it did so in its’ traditional fashion. Unseasonably cold temperatures and early sunsets led to frigid nights on campus. On January 5, 1997, the chapter would return with 7 brothers, 5 of which were neophytes. There was much anticipation about having a line or “intake” as it was called back then. The brothers of Beta Chapter would host an interest meeting and 25 young men met the initial qualifications to be considered for membership. There were some brothers who were hesitant about having a group of young brothers having a line. Bro. Bertram L. Lawson II was elected by the chapter to oversee the intake process and he would be assisted by Bro. Raymond Curry. Once the leadership was elected for this endeavor these two brothers would help guide these young men on their journey into Omega.
Unfortunately, for various reasons 19 of these young men declined to continue this journey. The chapter was left with 6 young men who were ready to enter Omega. Unfortunately, prior to their initiation a moratorium had been placed upon the organization. The brothers of the chapter had grown fond of these young men and sought the assistance of their campus advisor Christopher Curry. Bro. Curry informed the brothers that he would assist the chapter in any way possible. He told the young brothers “have faith and be strong.” At the conclusion of that meeting, the brothers of the chapter were encouraged but still saddened by the current state of affairs. The brothers would meet among themselves and discuss what would be best for the chapter. The brothers would then meet with these 6 young men and inform them of what occurred. As you could imagine these 6 young men were extremely disappointed. But the brothers of Beta vowed to them that they would do everything possible to make sure they completed the journey. Several days would pass and everyone would return home at the conclusion of their finals. Bro. Lawson would receive a phone call requesting the presence of these 6 young men in New York. Each of these men was contacted and May 24, 1997, Jason Boyer, Anjuan Collins, Nikomar Mosley, Wakeem Brown, Dwayne Grayson, and Malcolm Wilson were initiated into the fold and became known as Beta Chapter’s Spring 1997 line “The 6 Savages of Hell.”
As the Fall semester of 1997 began there were various rumors about Beta Chapter’s 1997 line. Various members of the student body inquired as to whether it was true that there was a “Que line” coming out for a probate in September. Prior to returning to campus, the chapter and its newest initiates vowed to keep Spring 1997’s initiation a secret until their probate. Once again the chapter would call upon Bro. Christopher Stoudemire to assist with the probate show. This group of neophytes would endure the same types of vigorous practices as their immediate prophytes. After several weeks of practice the 6 Savages of Hell were ready to make their debut.
Traditionally, Beta Chapter probate shows take place in the Quad and are packed to capacity. But this probate show had a crowd which has not been seen in this magnitude of size since. This was due to the hard work of Bros. Bertram L. Lawson II, Raymond Curry, and the brothers of Beta Chapter. So many brothers got the opportunity to meet these young men during their journey that they had to be present to see them complete it. Therefore, on September 5, 1997, the 6 Savages of Hell were unveiled to the Lincoln University campus. That night these 6 young men had an experience that can only be rivaled by the act of marriage or child birth. As a chapter, we were extremely proud of our newest initiates.
The following day, the chapter held a meeting and immediately started planning for the academic year. The following officers were elected: Basileus, Bro. Bertram L. Lawson II, Vice Basileus, Bro. Anjuan R. Collins, Keeper of Records and Seals, Bro. Gerard Leotaud, Keeper of Finance, Bro. Dwayne Grayson, Chaplain, Bro. Nathan Jacobs, and Director of Public Relations, Bro. Jamal Parker. Once the officers were elected the brothers began to plan the academic year. From this meeting and several others the seed was planted for a successful tenure on campus. Bro. Bertram L. Lawson II would create and lead Omega’s first “Black women’s Appreciation Day” Program in September of 1997. Bro. Dwayne Grayson would create the inaugural “Omega Classic Basketball Tournament”.
Bros. Jamal Parker and Anjuan Colllins would recognize the need for campus awareness of social issues and would create a series of forums or “talk shows” to discuss issues relevant to the Lincoln University community. These forums gained the attention of the University which led them to incorporate them as credit toward Lincoln’s own Convocation Series. The brothers continued the tradition of hosting a haunted house in McCrary Hall for the children of Lincoln Village. The chapter also continued to host their annual mid-term study hall as well as service to the cafeteria.
Due to Beta Chapter’s involvement with Lincoln University convocations, the University requested the chapter host the visit of Bro. Jesse Jackson. Bro. Jackson was visiting the campus to deliver an address to the student body but insisted that he meet “his brothers” prior to the convocation. The brothers of Beta Chapter accompanied by Bros. Frank “Tick” Coleman and Christopher Curry greeted Bro. Jackson inside of Vail Hall. Bro. Jackson would provide the brothers with stories and experiences like no other. For many of the brothers it was the first time meeting a brother of national political stature. That night the Brothers of Beta Chapter truly learned that brothers are truly brothers regardless of stature.
During a meeting in September, Bro. Gerard Leotaud informed the chapter that the University of Delaware was hosting their annual Fall stepshow. Bro. Leotaud acquired a tape of the Lincoln University Spring 1994 Step Show which was won by the Brothers of Beta Chapter. Bro. Leotaud recommended that the chapter recreate the show and use it for the University of Delaware step-show. At this time there were 13 brothers on campus and the show required only 9 brothers. After various grueling sessions of step practice (overseen by Bro. Christopher Stoudemire) Bros. Raymond Curry, Bertram L. Lawson II, Jamal Parker, Nathan Jacobs, Gerard Leotaud, Jason Boyer, Anjuan Collins, Nikomar Mosley, and Wakeem Brown composed that 9 man step team. For years this show had been won by the University of Delaware Kappas. Some had even told the brothers of Beta Chapter that “we were just stepping for second place.” Prior to taking the stage the step team received encouraging words from Bros. Stoudemire and Leotaud and was led in prayer by Bro. Nathan Jacobs. The curtain would rise and the step team would be in “mode.” The brother began with the “B0eta Intro” and the classic “It’s My Beta Chapter . . . “ The crowd was then taken by surprise when the lights went out and the brothers emerged with glow in the dark gloves, shirts, and shoe laces. The brothers performed two dynamic steps using this concept. The lights would go out and again and the brothers emerge wearing the initial step show gear when the lights were turned on. The brothers would then sing a “Zoom” and transition to their formation for the “Beta Retro” Bro. Gerard Leotaud could be heard saying, “If my brother Dr. Ernest Everett Just were here tonight. We would honor him in this way!!” At the conclusion of this statement, Bro. Leotaud would lead the first of four lines in the retro. He would repeat that fore mentioned statement inserting each of our Founders names for each of the four lines. The audience screamed as they saw Bro. Leotaud lead each line with pinpoint precision. Some say it reminded them of the Show Dog greats such as Richard Rogers, Carlton Stoudemire, Christopher Stoudemire, and Damaas Stephens. At the conclusion of the step the show was over and the brothers of Beta Chapter eagerly awaited the results. The judges tallied the scores and the Sigmas were announced as the third place team. It was announced shortly thereafter that the men of Kappa Alpha Psi had placed second thus leaving the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc Beta Chapter the winners of the Fall 1997 University of Delaware step-show. These brothers had continued the tradition of winning shows and earning their “god boots.” They had followed in the footsteps of the previous champions in that decade consisting of members of the 20 Pearls (Spr, 90), the 18 Rebels (Spr. 93), the 8 Sons of Sacrifice (Spr. 94). This team celebrated throughout the night but unfortunately it would be the last time Beta Chapter won a show in the chapter century of existence.
As the brothers pressed on throughout the semester, they were continuing to find young men who were interested in the Fraternity. Since there was no decision as to whether the Fraternity would consider membership these young men were advised to continue with their academic studies. The brothers would remember these young men and continue to observe their character them on campus. The fall semester would conclude again with several successful programs, a step show victory, and several of Beta Chapter’s programs being featured in the Second District’s publication “The Omegan” The chapter would also host its’ annual achievement week program and Bro. Jamal Parker would be named Beta Chapter’s 1997 Omega Man of the Year.
The Spring semester of 1998 would arrive and there was uncertainty about whether the Fraternity would have intake. With this in mind, the brothers of Beta Chapter would continue to do Omega’s work and seek leadership positions on campus. Bro. Gerard Leotaud was elected Vice President of External Affairs for Lincoln University’s Student Government Association, Bro. Jamal Parker was elected Lincoln University’s Pan-Hellenic Council President, and Bros. Anjuan Collins and Nathan Jacobs would have leading roles in the Lincoln University Choir and Jazz Ensemble.
With every brother engaged in their studies and extracurricular activities, there were still conversations about the improbability of the Fraternity having intake. The chapter would receive a correspondence from the Fraternity requesting delegates to attend the Inaugural International Undergraduate Summit in Decatur, Georgia. At the time the chapter was limited with funds but the brothers found various and creative ways to raise the money necessary for travel and lodging expenses. Bros. Andre Carr, Raymond Curry, Bertram Lawson, and Anjuan Collins would make the 755 mile drive from Lincoln University to Decatur, Georgia to serve as delegates for Inaugural International Undergraduate Summit. These 4 brothers would arrive in Decatur, Georgia weary but ready to work. Bros. Carr, Curry, Lawson, and Collins would attend all sessions during the Inaugural International Undergraduate Summit. Prior to their departure, the remaining brothers on campus received a phone call from their delegates. The delegates informed them that their attendance at the Undergraduate Summit and completion of sessions has cleared the chapter to have a line. The brothers on campus were delighted to hear this mews and eager to begin.
Upon arrival of the chapter’s delegates, a meeting was held and Bros. Andre Carr was elected to oversee the intake process and he would be assisted by Bro. Gerard Leotaud. The chapter would have an interest meeting and over 30 young men would show their interest. As the chapter began to work with these young men, it received more good news. Bros. Raymond Curry, Bertram Lawson, Jamal Parker, Nathan Jacobs, and Anjuan Collins would be receiving honors at the Spring 1998 Lincoln University Honors Convocation. This accomplishment was viewed as another chapter tradition that had been upheld since Beta’s inception. Bros. Frank “Tick” Coleman and Dr. B. Marshall Henderson (Lincoln University Biology Department Chair), and Anthony Fairbanks (Lincoln University Vice President of External Affairs) were extremely pleased by this news.
At the conclusion of the convocation program, the brothers quickly shifted their focus back to academics and to furthering the journey of those young men seeking Omega. Bros, Carr and Leotaud guided these young and instilled in them the principles of our beloved organization and the vision of reaching their goal. On May 2, 1998, VanBuren Payne, Gerard Catala, Jason R. Hunt, Kenroy Wallace, and Edwin Santana completed their journey and became Beta Chapter’s Spring 1998 line “The 5 Pschoitic Souls.” The imitation of the 5 Psychotic Souls provided Beta Chapter with its’ fifth consecutive line, a feat that has not been duplicated since. The chapter officers for the 1998-1999 school year included Basileus Anjuan Collins, Vice Basileus Jason Hunt, Keeper of Records and Seal Edwin Santana, and Keeper of Finance Malcolm Wilson. Brothers felt strongly about campus issues and gave students a platform to voice their concerns in the form of a talk show series. Brothers also continued building relationships in the community with mentoring programs for children in Oxford and Beta’s Annual Halloween Trick or Treating for children in Lincoln Village. In conjunction with the 36th Grand Basieleus Lloyd Jordan, the brothers helped to create a public service announcement denouncing hazing, right on the campus of Lincoln University. The brothers also had the chance to volunteer during the University’s Convocation that had Louis Farrakhan speaking to the Lincoln University student body. During this time brothers were awarded accolades that included Lincoln University’s Top Greek Lettered Organization, Social Action Undergraduate Chapter of the Year, and Runner-Up for 2nd District Undergraduate Chapter of the Year. On the brink of the new millennium the brothers leading Beta’s charge were as follows: Basileus Edwin Santana, Vice Basileus Jason Hunt, Keeper of Records and Seal Kenroy Wallace, and Keeper of Finance Van Payne. The brothers continued to produce quality programs such as the Omega Classic Basketball Game and be proactive members of the campus community by being student representatives on the search committee, which brought President Ivory Nelson to Lincoln in 1999-2000.