NPHC Plaza

Plaza to honor ISU’s historically Black fraternities and sororities to break ground

The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement is pleased to announce a plaza promoting historically Black fraternities and sororities will be constructed on the grassy area next to the Memorial Union—at the heart of Iowa State’s campus. This initiative is in partnership with Iowa State’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), Dean of Students Office, and Division of Student Affairs.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the NPHC Plaza will be held Saturday, May 22 at 1 p.m. at the northwest side of Iowa State University’s Memorial Union. Attendees are required to wear face coverings.

Bolton and Menk, Inc. are leading design efforts for the plaza and will include symbols, colors, and plaques that represent each of the historically Black sororities and fraternities, often referred to as the Divine Nine organizations. Iowa State was highlighted by Watch the Yard last fall.

Billy Boulden, assistant dean of students for development and student leadership and director of sorority and fraternity engagement shared, “National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities and fraternities have been contributing to student success at Iowa State for nearly 100 years. A project like this will help educate every student, faculty and staff member, and visitor to Iowa State on the importance and impact of these organizations.”

Across the U.S., NPHC organizations have established physical areas on college campuses that serve as gathering spaces for events, visiting members and to recognize each of the member organizations. Nationally these spaces are often called plots, which can be traced back to the days of slavery and reconstruction. In 1865, Thaddeus Stephens, a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania, urged that land confiscated from confederate rebels be divided into 40-acre plots for newly freed slaves. The oldest known plot was built at Howard University in 1929 in honor of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Jonathan Hall, president of the Iowa State University National Pan-Hellenic Council and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., shared, “I am excited that Iowa State sees and acknowledges the worth and rich history that NPHC possesses not only on campus but to all the communities we serve and represent. The location of the plots is also important because they will be located in the heart of campus where every student past, present and future will be able to see and feel the presence of all the Divine Nine organizations and our respected founders. These plots will be an added part to the legacy and history of our organizations and ISU till the end of time.”

Boulden and Hall are members of the planning team. They are joined by Nicole Bartolozzi, assistant director of ISU's Hixson Opportunity Awards and alumna of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Sharron Evans, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students and alumna of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Dr. Toyia Younger, senior vice president of student affairs and alumna of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Construction is scheduled to be completed October 2021.

Students, alumni, and friends of Iowa State interested in contributing financially to this project may make a donation through the Iowa State Foundation: