September 21, 2021
21-83

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Breaks Ground on NPHC Plaza

Construction is underway on Valdosta State University’s NPHC Plaza, a visual tribute to Blazer Nation’s commitment to educate on diversity, enhance equity, and embrace inclusivity. Campus and community representatives gathered Saturday for a ceremonial groundbreaking.

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VALDOSTA — Construction is underway on Valdosta State University’s NPHC Plaza, a visual tribute to Blazer Nation’s commitment to educate on diversity, enhance equity, and embrace inclusivity. Campus and community representatives gathered Saturday for a ceremonial groundbreaking.

“It is absolutely an exciting day for all of us, and I’m thrilled to recognize the hard work, the cultural significance, and the legacy of our NPHC chapters here at VSU,” said Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU.

“This plaza represents the accomplishments, the hard work, and the sacrifice of so many. It represents a lot of wins and some losses. It represents the story of every member of the NPHC chapters that we have had here for 50 years. With this project, visitors to our campus will forever see the impact our NPHC students and alumni have made here at Valdosta State.”

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Inc., an organization composed of nine historically African American fraternities and sororities, was founded in May 1930 at Howard University in Washington D.C. According to council history, the nine organizations “evolved during a period when African Americans were being denied essential rights and privileges afforded others. Racial isolation on predominantly white campuses and social barriers of class on all campuses created a need for African Americans to align themselves with other individuals sharing common goals and ideals.”

The NPHC became active at VSU in May 1971 with the chartering of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Theta Tau Chapter less than eight years after the university admitted its first two African American students. Over the next 12 years these women were joined by the Kappa Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the Mu Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the Kappa Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., the Lambda Phi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., the Lambda Beta Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., the Alpha Theta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and the Tau Delta Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. VSU’s NPHC was completed in 2001 with the chartering of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.’s Delta Phi Chapter. 

“The plaza idea has been discussed among students for several years, but until recently we did not have the joint coordination with local alumni representatives to help initiate the fundraising process,” shared Dr. Vince Miller, vice president for the Division of Student Affairs. “It's the generosity of our NPHC alumni that have made this project happen.”

The NPHC fundraiser kickoff was held on July 20, with an aggressive timeline and a plan to raise $110,000 for construction of NPHC Plaza by Aug. 20.

As of Saturday’s groundbreaking, the campaign has exceeded its goal by nearly $39,000, according to Madison Beaumarchais, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life at VSU. Any leftover funds following the construction of NPHC Plaza will benefit scholarships for NPHC students. Any additional funds raised in the future will continue to support scholarships.

“The legacy of the NPHC at Valdosta State is long and the future is bright,” Beaumarchais said.

VSU’s NPHC chapters have had and continue to have an enormous impact on campus and in the community. These students have contributed countless volunteer hours and donations to support efforts to make the university and surrounding community an ideal place to live, learn, work, and play. They consistently maintain higher grade point averages than unaffiliated students and celebrate their academic achievements on graduation day.

VSU’s NPHC chapters are the cornerstone of social engagement on campus and drive the social calendar by providing engaging and educational programing for the campus community. Through their commitment to leadership development, these organizations have produced Student Government Association presidents and senators, university ambassadors, orientation leaders, change agents, and student representatives on various university task forces.

“I’m proud of the history and the impact that these organizations have had on our campus, and I personally cannot wait to see what the next 50 years bring to NPHC here at VSU,” Carvajal added.

NPHC Plaza will ensure that past, present, and future generations of the Blazer Nation family understand and appreciate the impact and positive legacy that each of these organizations continues to have on campus.

“As the president of the NPHC, I am overjoyed that all nine of our organizations will be showcased on campus,” said Nfiniti Pierce, who also serves as sisterhood chair of the Lambda Beta chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. “It will be a common place on campus for us to unify and come together.”

Throughout the planning and development stage of this project, Pierce has served as liaison between the NPHC student members and Valdosta Alumni Chapter. She anticipates graduating in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology.

“As we celebrate 50 years of NPHC contribution to our campus experience, I am hopeful the plaza will become an active space for our students and alumni,” Miller shared.

VSU plans to host a ribbon-cutting celebration during Homecoming 2021 in early November. NPHC Plaza will be located near the intersection of Patterson Street and Brookwood Drive.

“It has taken us a while to get here,” said Ronald Skrine, president of the Valdosta Alumni Chapter of the NPHC who joined the Kappa Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. as a student at VSU. He now serves as battalion chief in charge of professional standards and qualifications with the Valdosta Fire Department.

“There’s a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that went into bringing us this far…. We have proven that by working together we are stronger, and we have proven that by working together with other organizations and our university we can accomplish great things. Let’s enjoy this moment, and let’s keep moving forward.”

Visit https://www.givecampus.com/schools/ValdostaStateUniversity/nphc-plaza to support NPHC Plaza.

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UpIpFoiRTM to view a video rendering of NPHC Plaza.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/valdostastate/albums/72157719863907658/with/51488691422/

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