History of the Founding and Establishment of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
On Friday evening, November 17, 1911, three Howard University undergraduate students, with the assistance of their faculty adviser, gave birth to the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. This event occurred in the office of biology Professor Ernest E. Just, the faculty adviser, in the Science Hall (now known as Thirkield Hall). The three liberal arts students were Edgar A. Love, Oscar J. Cooper, and Frank Coleman. From the initials of the Greek phrase meaning "friendship is essential to the soul," the name Omega Psi Phi was derived. The phrase was selected as the motto. Manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift were adopted as cardinal principles. A decision was made regarding the design for the pin and emblem, and thus ended the first meeting of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
The next meeting was conducted on November 23, 1911. Edgar Love, Frank Coleman, Oscar James Cooper and Dr. Ernest Everett Just met in the office of Dr. Just to discuss the formation of an organization. The organization would be of men with similar ideals and interests. Love, Cooper and Coleman were the undergraduate men who had already built a binding FRIENDSHIP between themselves. They sought the guidance of Dr. Just to assist them in creating a fraternity that could stand on its own merits amid resistance and hostility from the Howard administration and faculty.
Edgar Love became the first Grand Basileus (National President). Cooper and Coleman were selected Grand Keeper of the Records (National Secretary) and Grand Keeper of Seals (National Treasurer), respectively. Eleven Howard University undergraduate men were selected as charter members.
During the first meeting, the name Omega Psi Phi, which means "Friendship is Essential to the Soul", was designated as the fraternity's name. Love was elected as the First Grand Basileus, Cooper was elected as Grand Keeper of Finance, Coleman was elected as Grand Keeper of Records, and Dr. Just served as Graduate Advisor. MANHOOD, SCHOLARSHIP, PERSEVERANCE, and UPLIFT were agreed upon as the Cardinal Principals of the Fraternity. The Fraternity pin was also created during this meeting.
Fourteen undergraduate men were selected and initiated to form the Alpha Chapter at Howard University. Omega became the first fraternity founded at a historically Black University. Under strong faculty opposition, the founders sought and eventually received acceptance. The Fraternity was formally incorporated October 28, 1914 by the U.S. Congress under laws governing the District of Columbia.
For more information, please visit https://www.oppf.org/about-omega/