First Black fraternity at Mason celebrates 35 years of achievement with endowed book scholarship

The Mu Mu Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. celebrated its 35th year at George Mason University this year with an unprecedented fundraising campaign and a series of networking events designed to provide support and opportunities for its members during the pandemic and beyond. Members of the chapter say such events gave undergraduates and alumni the chance to bond with one another.

This year, the Mu Mu chapter reached its goal of raising $25,000 to endow the Kappa Alpha Psi Book Scholarship Fund. The fund, which has been in existence at Mason since 2010, will now provide $1,000 annually toward the book fees for one incoming Black male undergraduate student. Since its inception, the chapter has administered $5,000 in scholarship awards.

“We wanted to give back, to help African American Mason students,” said Mu Mu Chapter member Victor C. Mullins, a 1989 Mason graduate, who currently serves as an associate dean at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “There’s something special and important about Black philanthropy, and we wanted to model that for our younger members.”

Kappa Alpha Psi was the first of the Divine Nine, historically Black Greek letter fraternities, to establish a chapter at Mason in 1983 as the Kappa Chi colony. In 1985, the Mu Mu Chapter was formally recognized by the Grand Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. In addition to being the first Black Greek-lettered fraternity on campus at that time, the Mu Mu chapter also founded the Echoes of Joy, which was Mason’s first gospel choir.

The chapter has also been named International Small Chapter of the year in 1991 and 1993 and won Eastern Province Small Chapter of the year 12 times between 1989 and 2016, according to chapter member Phil Thaxton.

While the chapter has been historically small compared to others within the fraternity, over the past 35 years, Mu Mu has initiated 87 members, many of whom have been prominent on campus, said Mullins. Members have consistently maintained high grade point averages and have posted a 95% graduation rate. Following graduation, many have gone on to establish careers in a broad range of industries in business, information technology, education, marketing, politics, religion, law and finance. Chapter alumni say they are focused on mentoring the undergraduate members at Mason and then helping them find jobs after they graduate.

Mason student Frank Diallo, a senior information systems and operations management major, said he’s gotten a lot out of being a chapter member. 

“Our charter members and alumni brothers are setting a great example,” Diallo said. “They are giving so much back to Mason and to us, being interactive and letting us know about their experiences. We have a great collaboration going on. It’s been really inspiring to get to know them.”

As part of the 35th anniversary celebration, the Mu Mu alumni held a series of virtual discussions during the month of October.

“Our theme for the 35th anniversary has been ‘Evolve or Repeat,’” said Mullins. “Discussion topics have been wide ranging, including investing and wealth-building, microaggressions, and mental health issues, with experts from across the country participating in each discussion.”

Earlier in the year, the chapter sponsored a voter registration drive and a Black Lives Matter protest in Fairfax County. Speakers included Sean Perryman, president of the Fairfax chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Fairfax County School Board Member Karen Keys-Gamarra.

“It is our sole purpose to inspire and promote achievement in every field of human endeavor,” says Warren Green, a 1987 Mason graduate. “We have built a legacy at Mason, a place for young Black men to grow.”