Officials, alumni, students and friends of the University of Tennessee at Martin gathered Nov. 2 to dedicate the new National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek Garden at Unity Circle in honor of the Divine Nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities, all of which are represented at UT Martin.
“Not only is this an important day for the Divine Nine, but you all need to know that this is an important date in history for UT Martin. This not only signifies a place, a recognition spot, a gathering spot, a programming spot for our Divine Nine, it’s also moving us along in our university mission and vision,” said UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver. “Being Greek is not only a good time as an undergraduate, but these organizations also support through their philanthropic efforts and become engaged with our campus and region. … With the construction and dedication of the Greek Garden, we celebrate the Divine Nine here today. We also celebrate what this means in terms of inclusion and welcoming and diversity in our campus climate,” he continued.
Kevin Laird, president of UT Martin’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, also spoke prior to the unveiling of nine plaques commemorating the chartering of each of the UT Martin Divine Nine chapters.
“There are many institutions that speak on their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and so often they let their students down and (create) disappointment in the lack thereof. This NPHC Greek Garden at Unity Circle represents to us a commitment to commemorate the countless contributions of the men and women who stood against adversity and who used their intimate connections with other like-minded individuals to shape the black student experience here at UT Martin,” he said.
Chapter alumni joined with current students to honor their charter members and recognize the academic, social, financial and professional influence of the chapters since their incorporation dates.
“Black Greek-letter organizations have been a pivotal part of the African-American culture since the early part of the 20th Century,” said Anthony Prewitt, assistant director for multicultural affairs and adviser to the NPHC organizations. “These organization have been essential resources for support, service and educational advancement, and the strengthening of social bonds among black students, entrepreneurs and professionals, especially when the organizations expanded into majority-white institutions of higher learning.”
The NPHC Greek Garden at Unity Circle is located between Clement Hall and the Andy Holt Humanities Building on the UT Martin main campus.
For more information, contact Prewitt at 731-881-1864 or email@example.com.