The history of our community

Black Greek-letter organizations have a long and rich history both nationally and locally. So much so, that the National Pan Hellenic Council was founded May 10th, 1930 at Howard University and incorporated under Illinois laws in 1937. The council which is an umbrella organization that houses all 9 organizations, commonly referred to as the "Divine Nine" , was pivotal in the civil rights movement and many other national programs that benefited a lot of people. The first intercollegiate black fraternity in the council was Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, founded December 4th, 1906, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. However, at the University of Iowa, the first of the black Greek letter organizations chartered on campus was Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. on March 7th, 1914.

NPHC Intake Information

Until 1919, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc, was the only black Greek letter organization chartered on campus. In that year, eight women chartered the Delta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. on April 4th, 1919. Before the 60’s, only one other black Greek letter organization was chartered at the University of Iowa: The Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. (1922). It wasn’t until 1969, with the chartering of the Epsilon Theta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, that we saw more black Greek letter organizations make their way to Iowa’s campus. These organizations were more than what society depicts as a stereotypical fraternity or sorority. They provided a forum in which Black students could engage in current discourse, serve their communities, and instill leadership skills that would follow them for the rest of their lives. 

In the early years, both Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. rented a succession of buildings as houses on campus. This was because housing for black students was scarce, and the organizations were not yet able to become long term renters. It wasn’t until 1922, that they were able to become long term renters, to which the men of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity inc. chose 301 S. Dubuque St as their chapter house until the mid ‘30’s. The house is no longer in existence. The men of both fraternities and other black students lived in the historic Tate Arms aka Charles and Dorothy Alberts House this happened when Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. was chartered on campus and the campus saw a surge of black students. The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. also lived in 818 S. Dubuque St. Although fraternity/sorority houses were typically strictly for individuals who identify as that gender, these houses for all black students regardless of their affiliation with an organization. Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. resided in the Iowa Federation Home at 942 Iowa Avenue, although it was not the only house that members resided in, it is an important and long-standing artifact for the Delta Chapter. The other organizations on Iowa’s campus were chartered as follows: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (1975); Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (1979); Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc (1980); and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (1983).

The Divine 9

The University of Iowa is home to 4 of the 9 historically African American fraternities and sororities. We hope to welcome more in the future!

Charter dates:

  • Gamma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated: Chartered March 7th 1914
  • Delta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated: Chartered April 4th, 1919
  • Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated: Chartered March 11th 1922
  • Epsilon Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated: Chartered May 10th, 1969 
  • Kappa Psi Chapter: Chartered May 5th, 1979
  • Pi Kappa Chapter: Chartered December 2nd, 1980 

NPHC events and programs

NPHC Yard Show

The National Pan-Hellenic Council attempts to host the NPHC Yard Show every fall semester as part of OnIowa! The Yard Show features members of our NPHC organizations in performances that showcase unity and expression. These expressive performances feature songs, chants, and symbols unique to each respective organization and can be traced back to its African roots. The show, which is one of the most anticipated events of our community, serves as a great time to watch NPHC in action, and see the council come to life!

NPHC Orientation

During NPHC Orientation, NPHC fraternities and sororities share information about their organizations with interested students. This is a great time to learn more about an organization you may be interested in and ask any questions you might have about Greek Life in general or regarding membership in a Divine 9 organization! Note: This event is mandatory if you are considering membership for any NPHC organization.

NPHC Community Service

The fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council have a rich and strong tradition of providing service to the campus and the Iowa City community. We deeply commit ourselves to improving and bettering the lives of those in need. Some of our individual organization philanthropies include, but aren’t limited to, the March of Dimes, Ronald McDonald House, Sleep Out for the Homeless, Educational Advancement Foundation, and the Youth Mentor Program.

Get to know our council executive officers:

nya bottley

Nya Bottley

deandre steger

DeAndre Steger

Vice President
image of kadebi

Kabedi Mutamba

Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing