Office of Student Life

Sorority and Fraternity Life

History of NPHC and the Divine Nine

History of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) 

The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC), also referred to as the Divine Nine, is the umbrella organization housing nine black Greek-letter organizations. The NPHC was founded at Howard University in Washington, DC on May 10, 1930, and incorporated under laws in Illinois in 1937. Its member organizations include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Altogether, the council’s membership exceeds 1.5 million individuals around the world. In 1995, the first international chapter was formed in Nassau, Bahamas. 

The goal of the National Pan-Hellenic Council is to promote unity among its member organizations and address problems of mutual interest to those organizations. In the 1960s, for example, the NPHC became a crucial supporter of the efforts of civil rights organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). While the NPHC recognizes separate priorities of the organizations within the Council, it also encourages all member organizations to support the leading national programs of the other Greek letter fraternities and sororities. 

The purpose of the NPHC shall be to foster cooperative actions of its members in dealing with matters of mutual concern. To this end, the NPHC promotes the well-being of its affiliate fraternities and sororities, facilitates the establishment and development of local councils of the NPHC and provides leadership training for its constituents.   

For more information, please visit the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc.’s website

History of the Divine Nine 

Each of the nine NPHC organizations evolved during a period when African Americans were being denied essential rights and privileges afforded others. Racial isolation on predominantly white institution campuses and social barriers of class on all campuses created a need for African Americans to align themselves with other individuals sharing common goals and ideals.   

With the realization of such a need, the African American (Black) Greek-lettered organization movement took on the personae of a haven and outlet, which could foster brotherhood and sisterhood in the pursuit to bring about social change through the development of social programs that would create positive change for Black people and the country. Today the need remains the same. 

NPHC at Ohio State 

The National Pan-Hellenic Council at The Ohio State University (NPHC-Ohio State), which started as the Black Greek Council, was chartered in the fall of 1995. The National Pan-Hellenic Council at The Ohio State University is the umbrella agent for the nine historically black Greek lettered organizations charted at The Ohio State University. Although the council was chartered in 1995, the organizations have existed on campus dating back to 1911.  

NPHC-Ohio State’s mission is to exist as a cooperative who strives to be an inclusive community dedicated to supporting and developing member organizations, individual members, and the community at-large through educational, social, and civic initiatives. The council promotes interaction through forums, meetings and other mediums for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions. Through intentional and impactful educational, social, and philanthropic initiatives, the National Pan-Hellenic Council at The Ohio State University is committed to:  

  • Fostering an inclusive, social justice-oriented environment for all its members and the community at-large;  
  • Supporting all of its members with the campus and community resources to maintain high achievement and standards;   
  • Educating the campus and community at-large on the history and foundation of our member organizations;  
  • Acting upon mutual concern to the member organizations;  
  • Maintaining positive relationships and collaboration with other governing councils within the sorority and fraternity community at The Ohio State University. 

According to institutional archives, the council has been advocating for space and belonging on campus dated back to the 1970s, when the council members at the time, spoke out regarding not having adequate space to convene and engage the community in their initiatives like other fraternal organizations represented in the Greek community. The conversation around implementing physical representation for the council on campus has been occurring since the early 2000s. Today, the current council started having intentional conversations about this project and believed it was time to actually make this project happen in order to celebrate our history, while developing a legacy for our community that will have a lasting impact on the Ohio State community. 

NPHC Member Organizations at Ohio State 

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated 
Founding Date: December 4, 1906 
Principles: Scholarship, Fellowship, Good Character, and Uplifting of Humanity           
Motto: “First of All, Servants of All, We Transcend All” 
Colors: Black and Old Gold 
Chapter: Kappa 
Charter Date: January 13, 1911 

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated 
Founding Date: January 15, 1908 
Principles: Sisterhood, Scholarship, and Service to All Humankind 
Motto: “By Culture and By Merit” 
Colors: Salmon Pink and Apple Green 
Chapter: Theta 
Charter Date: February 2, 1921 

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated 
Founding Date: January 5, 1911 
Motto: “Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor” 
Colors: Crimson and Cream 
Chapter: Zeta 
Charter Date: December 8, 1915 

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated 
Founding Date: November 17, 1911 
Principles: Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift 
Motto: “Friendship is Essential to the Soul” 
Colors: Royal Purple and Old Gold 
Chapter: Iota Psi 
Charter Date: March 17, 1926 

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated 
Founding Date: January 13, 1913 
Principles: Scholarship, Service and Sisterhood 
Motto: “Intelligence is the Torch of Wisdom” 
Colors: Crimson and Cream 
Chapter: Epsilon 
Charter Date: November 19, 1919 

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated 
Founding Date: January 9, 1914 
Principles: Brotherhood, Scholarship, Service 
Motto: “Culture for Service and Service for Humanity” 
Colors: Royal Blue and Pure White 
Chapter: Delta Omicron 
Founding Date: May 8, 1969 
Charter Date: November 15, 1969 

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated 
Founding Date: January 16, 1920 
Principles: Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood, Finer Womanhood 
Motto: “Community-Conscious, Action-Oriented Organization” 
Colors: Royal Blue and White 
Chapter: Xi Gamma 
Charter Date: January 27, 1968 

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated 
Founding Date: November 12, 1922 
Principles: Sisterhood, Scholarship, Service 
Motto: “Greater Service, Greater Progress” 
Colors: Royal Blue and Gold 
Chapter: Delta Phi 
Charter Date: December 4, 1971 

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated 
Founding Date: September 19, 1963 
Principles: Scholarship, Leadership, Citizenship, Fidelity, Brotherhood Among Men 
Motto: “Building A Tradition, Not Resting Upon One” 
Colors: Charcoal Brown and Gilded Gold 
Chapter: Beta Mu 
Charter Date: April 16, 1988