Omicron was chartered on February 27, 1921, at Columbia University in New York, New York. Affectionately known as "The Royal Chapter," it is the first chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi to be chartered in the state of New York. Omicron also holds the distinction of being amongst the seven charters ever awarded to member institutions of the Ivy League. Originally falling under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Province, Omicron is governed by the Northeastern Province and advised by New York (NY) Alumni.
Omicron has, at one time or another, initiated students enrolled as far north as Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The chapter primarily draws interest from students enrolled at Columbia University, Baruch College, City University of New York, Hunter College, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
A Kappa Alpha Psi presence was established at Columbia University in 1919, when C. Udell Turpin (Beta, 1916) transferred from the University of Illinois, and “GasBoy” Ridgely (Epsilon) and C. Jackson (Epsilon) transferred from Lincoln University. These men petitioned the Eastern Province to form a chapter, which was authorized in 1920. Coinciding with the initiations of Alfred W. Tucker, C. French Foushee, W. Louis Davis, Deaver P. Young, W. J. Levy, Robinson M. Hayden, and Ernest M. Wood on February 27, 1921, the Omicron charter was awarded. Originally overseen by the Eastern Province, governance of Omicron was transferred to the Northeastern Province upon its formation in 1930.
After a significant period of inactivity, Omicron was reactivated in 1989, after which it existed for xx years. In 2017, Omicron was reactivated for a second time with the initiation of Defenders of the Royal Realm of Omicron.
It is with sincere regret that we announce the passing of the following members:
- Basel A. Paterson (Omicron, 1946), New York’s first major-party black candidate for lieutenant governor and the father of former New York State governor David Paterson, died on April 16, 2014. He was 87.
- Arturo A. Schomburg (Omicron, 1925) died on June 10, 1938, following a dental procedure which went awry, requiring his hospitalization. He is buried at Cypress Hills Cemetary in Brooklyn, New York.
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Omicron has made significant contributions toward the advance of the fraternity. The chapter hosted the XXth Grand Chapter Meeting in 1925 and again the XXth Grand Chapter Meeting in 1935. The chapter lists among its rank X Grand Polemarchs, four Northeastern Province Polemarchs, one Southeastern Province Polemarch, and several Grand Chapter and Northeastern Province officers. Members of Omicron founded the New York (NY) Alumni and Brooklyn (NY) Alumni chapters, and, several of these same brothers were instrumental in helping Delta Mu and Asbury Park-Neptune (NJ) Alumni, the “baby” chapters of the fraternity, receive their charters.
- Basil A. Paterson (Omicron, 1946) was a labor attorney, and the leaders of the Gang of Four; a coalition of African Americans which dominated Harlem politics during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966, Paterson won election to the New York State Senate, making him the second African-American to join the upper house of the state legislature.
- Arturo A. Schomburg (Omicron, 1925) was a historian, writer and activist. In 1911, he founded the Negro Society for Historical Research and a year later, he co-edited of the 1912 edition of Daniel Alexander Payne Murray's Encyclopedia of the Colored Race. Thereafter, he amassed an avid collector of materials and documents on Africa and its diaspora, which, in 1926, was added to the Harlem branch of The New York Public Library. The collection had moved to a new branch on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It remains one of the foremost research centers on Africa and the African diaspora. For his contributions, Schomburg has been affectionately dubbed the "Father of Black History."
- Omicron is often the incorrect answer to the trick question "What was the first charter awarded to an Ivy League school?" Even though it was chartered in 1921, at the time, the Ivy League had not yet been formed. The elite athletic conference was established in 1956, 35 years after Omicron was chartered and 2 years after Delta Eta was chartered at the University of Pennsylvania in 1954. The correct answer is Iota Phi at Cornell University, which was chartered in 1979.
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