Read below for more information on how IOTA men are empowering their communities:
“We wanted to form an organization which would make the American dream a reality. I know that might sound like an ambitious answer, but we wanted IOTA to be a national fraternity which had an impact on the whole of America, not just African – America.”
– Honorable Founder John Slade
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated (IOTA), is the nation’s fifth largest, predominately African-American community service fraternity. IOTA stands firmly; unbreakable on the commitment to make meaningful contributions to the future of the African-American community.
Our mission and vision is the development and perpetuation of Scholarship, Leadership, Citizenship, Fidelity, and Brotherhood amongst all men.
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated was founded on September, 19, 1963 on the steps of the Edward P. Hurt gymnasium, at Morgan State College which is now known as Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.
The founders of IOTA were:
Albert Hicks, Lonnie Spruill, Jr., Charles Briscoe, Frank Coakley, John Slade, Barron Willis, Webster Lewis, Charles Brown, Louis Hudnell, Charles Gregory, Elias Dorsey, Jr., and Michael Williams.
In the sixties, when IOTA was founded, there were already a number of fraternities in existence. Our founders chose to strike out in a bold new direction to strive for excellence in all facets of life – academically, professionally, and personally. Influenced by the events and the people of the times such as the Black Panthers, SNCC, Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael.
IOTA was initially a civil rights militant organization in a time where militancy was not a popular stance. Iota founders participated in various protests and sit-ins throughout the city of Baltimore. The founders of the fraternity were themselves not of the norm as they were all non-traditional students. They were older than their peers with many of them having served in the military, working full-time while attending classes, and having families. The Fraternity functioned as a local entity until the first interest groups were established in 1967 at Hampton Institute (Beta Chapter) and Delaware State College (Gamma Chapter). Further expansion took place in 1968 with chapters being formed at Norfolk State College (Delta Chapter), Jersey City State College (Epsilon Chapter) and Virginia State University (Eta Chapter).
The Fraternity was officially and legally incorporated on November 1, 1968 as a National Fraternity. Since its founding in 1963, our organization and its growing membership has prospered. IOTA presently consists of 30,000 members and 300 undergraduate and alumni chapters and colonies located in over 45+ US states, the District of Columbia, the Bahamas and South Korea.
IOTA is a proud member of both the National Pan- Hellenic Council (NPHC), an umbrella organization comprised of nine international historically African- American Greek letter Sororities and Fraternities, and the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). The official flower of the fraternity is the yellow rose and the official symbol representing its members is the mighty centaur.