By: Stephanie Samsel, News Editor and Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief
Towson University is building a tribute walkway in the Julius Chapman Quadrangle to pay tribute to its nine historically Black sororities and fraternities.
In between the Media Center and Van Bokkelen Hall, each of TU’s nine National Pan-Hellenic Council chapters will be represented by a brick pillar with a plaque on the front listing its charter members, according to the university. Each pillar will be topped with a chapter’s unique colored crest, motto and founding date.
The university broke ground on the project, which is set to be completed this fall, in June.
“Located in the Chapman Quad, named in honor of Dr. Julius Chapman, TU’s first dean of minority affairs, the walkway will recognize the historic legacy of these organizations as champions for racial equity on our campus,” Schatzel said at the groundbreaking.
TU’s Mu Mu Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority had over 150 donors contribute to funding the tribute, the record number of donors out of all nine NPHC organizations, the university said.
“The tribute will allow members of the NPHC to feel recognized and represented on campus,” Mu Mu Chapter President Ariana Toland said in a statement. “It will create a space where members are able to connect with one another and fellowship as the NPHC. It will also create awareness and education to students who may be curious about the NPHC.”
The tribute’s total fundraising goal was $75,000, a goal completely funded by over 550 donors.
Towson University surpassed its fundraising goal by $20,597. As a result, additional tributes will be placed around campus, TU’s Associate Vice President of Development Todd Langenberg said in an email.
He said that some of the Greek organizations have chosen to dedicate several benches around campus, with most being in West Village. Further, each organization decides to allocate additional funds raised at its discretion with the university.
Isiah Graves, president of the Lambda Zeta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, said the recognition is significant considering TU’s history as a predominantly white institution.
“This walkway is only scratching the surface for not only [Black Greek] organizations but all of the ones on Towson’s campus,” Graves said in a statement. “Being [a part] of this history is monumental, I, again, am honored and excited to see what the future holds.”
According to an article from TU Special Collections and University Archives, Chapman became TU’s first dean of minority affairs in 1973. Further, Chapman led the charge for minority representation on campus through the creation of the African American Cultural Center.
Before Chapman’s time at TU in 1968, the university reported that Black students comprised less than 1% of the total student population. Today, over 57% of TU’s new student class identifies as a racial or ethnic minority.
A dedication ceremony for the pathway will be held during Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 10:30 a.m. on Dean Chapman Quad.
Editor’s note: In addition to Kappa Alpha Psi and Delta Sigma Theta, The Towerlight has contacted the other seven historically Black Greek organizations for comment on the dedication but did not received a response in time for publication.
This story has been updated to include a statement from the Mu Mu chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority