The History of 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 Inc. 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. Love, Cooper, and Coleman were not only young men of vision, but of action as well. At this historic meeting the name of the fraternity was decided upon. From the initials of the Greek phrase meaning “friendship is essential to the soul,” the name Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated was derived. The phrase was selected as the motto. Manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift were adopted as cardinal principles. The next important step was to secure the approval from the university’s administration. Unfortunately, the Founders request to be recognized as a national entity was met with great resistance that lasted well over a year. Adamant at first, the university came around to the position that Omega could officially exist, but only as a local group. Adhering to the national objective, the founders refused their concession and by sheer determination and persistence, finally won over the administration to their viewpoint. It was not merely a local victory; it set a precedent that affected the cause of fraternity life in every school in Black America. On October 28, 1914, the laying of Omega’s foundation was formally completed when the fraternity was incorporated in the District of Columbia.