On September 19, 1963, at Morgan State College (now Morgan State University), 12 students founded what is now the nation’s fifth largest, predominately African-American social service fraternity: The Iota Phi Theta® Fraternity, Incorporated.
This group of men was unique for several reasons. First of all, many were long-time friends. Spruill, Coakley, Dorsey, and Gregory had known one another since grade school, and Spruill and Coakley’s friendship extended to when the two were pre-schoolers. Even more uniquely, many of these men were what are now referred to as “Non-Traditional Students” and were 3-5 years older than the average college student. Gregory, Willis, and Brown were all service veterans, and Brown, Hicks, and Briscoe were married with small children. Of this group of 12, several were also working full-time jobs and all were full-time students. Based upon their ages, heightened responsibilities, and increased level of maturity, this group had a slightly different perspective than the norm for college students.
1. Albert Hicks - Polaris
2. Lonnie Spruill, Jr. - Vice Polaris
3. Charles Briscoe - Secretary
4. Frank Coakley - Treasurer
5. John Slade - Business Manager
6. Barron Willis - Chaplain
7. Webster Lewis - Historian
8. Charles Brown - Sergeant-at-Arms
9. Louis Hudnell - Dean of Pledgees
10. Charles Gregory
11. Elias Dorsey Jr.
12. Michael Williams
The First Iota Phi Theta Meeting
Top: Elias Dorsey, Charles Brown, Webster Lewis
Bottom: John Slade, Frank Coakley, Lonnie Spruill
Six of the twelve Foundes at the first official Iota Phi Theta Fraternity meeting (1963)
1. Charles Brown - Live outside of Washington, D.C.
2. Frank Coakley - Live in Baltimore, MD
3. Louis Hudnell - Live in Baltimore, MD
4. Lonnie Spruill Jr. - Live in Baltimore, MD
5. Michael Williams - Live in New York
50th Anniversary 34th International Conclave
August 15, 2013
Baltimore Hilton Hotel
R.I.P. Honorable Founder John D. Slade
R.I.P. Honorable Founder Barron Willis
R.I.P. Honorable Founder Albert Hicks
R.I.P. Honorable Founder Charles Gregory
R.I.P. Honorable Founder Elias Dorsey, Jr.
R.I.P. Honorable Founder Webster Lewis
R.I.P. Honorable Founder Charles Briscoe