Ball State University's National Pan-Hellenic Council, or the Divine Nine, has gained the ninth organization

Delta Sigma Theta sorority bake sale March 1974 outside of Emens Auditorium. Ball State Photo Repository, Photo Provided
Delta Sigma Theta sorority bake sale March 1974 outside of Emens Auditorium. Ball State Photo Repository, Photo Provided

The Ball State National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is more than just an organization, it is a haven for young men and women to strive to become who they aspire to be.  

The NPHC, or the “Divine Nine,” consists of nine fraternities and sororities. Founded May 10, 1930, NPHC organizations are committed to community service, student excellence and inclusive innovation.

Ball State’s demographic is consistently at or above 75 percent, making it a Predominately White Institution (PWI), according to the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support.

What’s unique about Ball State is all nine organizations have a chapter on campus, with the newest and ninth organization, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. being added in September 2023. 

timeline graphic for online.png
Brenden Rowan, DN Design

Alpha Phi Alpha 

Christopher Onyiego, a second-year communications major, crossed (joined)  in Fall 2023. Onyiego is a member of the Theta Xi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the country’s first African American fraternity.  

“Being a part of an organization of people who are willing to help, provide service and protect their community as well as bringing young-minded men to become a better version of themselves throughout my fraternity,” Onyiego said.

Onyiego expressed that with a full Divine-Nine yard, Ball State’s NPHC will have brand new opportunities to flourish for the future. 

“The NPHC will move in a way we have never seen before, definitely a lot of changes throughout the organization and collaboration with other Greeks,” he said.

Alpha Kappa Alpha 

Zaria Purnell is a fifth-year early childhood and elementary education major who crossed in Spring 2021.

Purnell is a third-generation member of the sorority, making her a “legacy.” Alpha Kappa Alpha means the world to Purnell; she is about to graduate this spring, and the sorority’s impact on her life will extend beyond college. 

“It’s great for networking, especially coming out of college," she said. "Usually, we college students don't know what we're going to do later on in life, so it's a good idea to partner with the women in our organization allowing you to see the world differently.”

Having all nine organizations here at Ball State is very important to Purnell, as when she came here for her first year in 2019, it seemed like having all nine would be a long shot. 

 “Being here for pretty much five years and seeing how our National Pan-Hellenic Council can grow so much and do so many amazing things by not only being there for our organizations but being there for each other’s organization is amazing,” Purnell said. 

Divine 1.jpg
The Lambda Beta chapter of Phi Beta Fraternity, Inc. performing at the 2018 NPHC Yard Show Sept. 30, 2018, in the Quad. NPHC fraternities and sororities on campus arecurrently looking for dedication plots at Ball State. Connie Prater, Photo Provided

Kappa Alpha Psi

Carson Myers, a fourth-year double majoring in psychology and sociology, crossed in Spring 2023 into the Delta Iota chapter.

Myers is also a legacy member, with his father and brother being members of Ball State’s chapter. Even though Myers has only been a member for a little under a year, the organization has been a part of him his whole life.

“It just speaks to the principles that were instilled in me as a kid, which is achievement. Our motto is ‘Achievement in every field of human endeavor,” Myers said. “I got to learn what achievement was at a young age, then when I researched what I was interested in, I found that they [Kappa Alpha Psi] were interested in achievement too, so it was a common ground for me.”

Myers finds it exceptional that Ball State is home to all nine organizations of the NPHC, especially since Ball State is a PWI.

“I feel like everybody being included is important, everybody being represented is important everywhere, but being at a PWI makes it special,” he said. “Normally, that's what is expected at HBCUs with their Black organizations. Having all nine organizations at a  PWI just speaks to how powerful the Black community here is at Ball State.”

Sigma Gamma Rho

Leeyah Griffin, a fourth-year early childhood education major, crossed in Fall 2022. 

Being a part of  the “Marvelous” Mu Chapter, Griffin has the opportunity to help communities with the resources they need. 

“I grew up in various communities — all predominantly black — and often, I needed resources from organizations like Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and now that I am a part of this organization, it feels great giving back to people that were just like me growing up,” she said.

Phi Beta Sigma

Anthony Key, a third-year graphic design major with a photography minor crossed in Spring 2022. 

Key is a member of Phi Beta Sigma, which is constitutionally bound with the sorority Zeta Phi Beta.

Since joining, he said he has been offered so many opportunities to grow with the NPHC by traveling to conventions.

Key was the parliamentarian of the NPHC executive board for the 2022-23 school year and believes the key for success is unity. 

“Having a full yard [all Divine Nine organizations] will bring a lot more unity to the NPHC, it will also allow us to have more projects that will be shared amongst the fraternities and sororities here at Ball State,” he said.

Divine 2.JPG
National Pan-Hellenic Council’s sororities and fraternities participated in their first event of the semester in Aug. 2015. Yard shows are a common event among NPHC around the country. Darius Norwood/ Mind Over Matter PR, Photo Provided

Zeta Phi Beta

Zuri Jackson is a fourth-year theater and dance major who crossed in Spring 2023.

Jackson shed light on how her sorority helped her grow into the woman she is today and continues to grow into the best version of herself. 

“My chapter, they helped me be better. They helped me evolve. So what they mean to me is evolution,”  Jackson said. “It always feels like they're always there for me, and it also feels like I belong; I am a part of them.”

Divine 5.jpg
Mark Maxwell Jr (left) and Mark Maxwell Sr (right) at the homecoming tailgate located at the Bethel Recreation Field for the Ball State 2023 Homecoming. Terry Clayton, Photo Provided

Omega Psi Phi

Mark Maxwell Jr., a media design graduate student who received his bachelor’s in interpersonal communications, crossed in Spring 2023. 

Like Meyers, Maxwell is a legacy member of his fraternity, and the only one in the history of the Upsilon Beta Chapter. 

“I was raised around brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., especially our cardinal principles [of] manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift were instilled, and it was something I saw in the people that I looked up to as a child being around it my entire life,” he said.

His father crossed at Ball State in 1988, and the bonds his father formed with his fraternity brothers expanded to him. So much so that he views his father’s six line of brothers as uncles. 

“It’s always been like family, so this chapter means everything,” Maxwell said.

Going forward, Maxwell shared that having all nine organizations can not only be better for Ball State, but better for other colleges and universities in the future. 

“I think it's a step in the right direction,” he said. “It's something that is rare, especially if you don't go to HBCU. I think It's a blessing,” Maxwell said. 

Delta Sigma Theta

Taylor Coleman, a third-year psychology major, crossed in Spring 2023.

Delta Sigma Theta is the biggest African American Greek-letter sorority in the world with more than 350,000 women who hold a membership, according to Blackpast

“My life has changed for the better since becoming a member of Delta Sigma Theta,” Coleman said. “I have gained so many leadership opportunities [and] my communication skills improved. I also learned the true importance of time management.”

Coleman said the benefits of being a member are unmatched as it helped her grow as a woman positively going forward through college.

¨The Ball State NPHC will continue to show unity by uplifting each other, showing how we can all come together to serve our community and be a positive role model to our youth.¨

Divine 4.jpg
Group shot of Delta Sigma Theta sorority members Dec. 13, 1966. Ball State Photo Repository, Photo Provided

Iota Phi Theta 

Simba Hicks, a second-year public relations major minoring in counseling, crossed in Fall 2023. Iota Phi Theta is the most recent addition to the NPHC.

Hicks said his fraternity allows him to walk in his own skin without any hesitation and let him be as uniquely himself as possible.

“My fraternity means outlet and a push to be the best man I can possibly be with little confining to a stereotype as possible, I get to really be myself and live my truth,” he said.

Hick also noted that now having all nine organizations, Ball State’s student body has more of a variety of options to choose from if one were to consider joining the NPHC. 

“It’s nice to see that Black excellence on campus with Black people having different options on what fits them instead of having to settle, but you can really just see all the different personalities that come along in Ball State’s Black community,” he said.

In an effort to bring cultural awareness and diversity to the Ball State’s campus, the NPHC would like to build the NPHC Plaza. This space would heighten the awareness of this diverse and unique council on campus, and appeal aesthetically and culturally to prospective students and their families.

For more information on the NPHC head to their Instagram.

Contact Calvin Scott with comments at or on X @CalvinAJScott.


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...