Kappa brothers create Black student scholarship fund
University of Pittsburgh alumni and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity brothers Reginald Huc, James Atwater and Eric Greer know first hand what it feels like to be a struggling African American college student.
“We know how expensive it is for college and expenses,” said Atwater who started his college career at Pitt, but transferred to the University of Maryland and now works in National Security arena. “You’ve got kids paying $80 and $100 thousand dollars back once they graduate from college and we wanted to find a way to give back to them.”
That’s why the three friends, calling themselves the Saracen Klub, decided to come together and create a scholarship fund for Black undergraduate University of Pittsburgh students.
Still in its infancy, the goal of the Saracen Klub is to be able to help students with any college expenses that may come along. Saracens are warriors and the frat brothers are committed to picking up the mantle as crusaders in their desire to improve life wherever they can for their people.
“If we could help the kids with books, partial payment for their rooms or something like that’s what we’re trying to do,” Greer said.
The group decided to use the recent Pitt homecoming that took place during the after party of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Soul Sessions Marsha Ambrosius concert to as a jump off point to try and raise money for the scholarship. All proceeds from the scholarship fundraiser went directly to the Saracen Klub Scholarship Fund at the University of Pittsburgh.
“The synergy was there between us and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust they were having the concert and the right time and the right place so we decided to roll it out,” explained Huc.
Janis Burley Wilson, vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said, “I am a Pitt alum and it was very important to me to support an endeavor like this especially during Pitt’s homecoming weekend. I thought it was a good fit to have a really great concert these gentleman planning the after party event and having something positive and beneficial to African American students come out of this whole weekend. That’s my goal and their goal as well,” Wilson said.”Hopefully they raise a lot of money and send someone to college with a nice scholarship that they can use for books or whatever.”
The group will also use the wide ranging connections of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity to local organizations to form partnerships to help with the scholarship.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity was established in 1941 and was the dream of Elder Watson Diggs, John Milton Lee, Byron Kenneth Armstrong, Guy Grant, Ezra Dee Alexander, Henry Tourner Asher, Marcus Peter Blakemore, Paul Caine, Edward Irvin and George Edmonds. Now the organization has functioning graduate and undergraduate chapters at numerous colleges and universities across the country.
“We’re a bunch of guys who pledged Kappa Alpha Psi back in the ‘70s and ‘80s and we’re all Pitt grads and have gone through life and scattered to the four corners and we’ve been getting back together more and more recently and we sat down and said since we are able to reconnect, what can we do other than meet at vacation spots and stuff like that. We said it’d be great if we could help some kids that went through the same struggles that we went through at Pitt. We are people of color at a predominately White University in the city of Pittsburgh plus the cost of college has spiraled and it’s seriously out of control,” said Huc who now resides in Philadelphia, but was born in the West Indies and attended Pitt on a sports scholarship.
“I realize this may be a drop in the bucket but it will be able to help someone be able to do something significant in their lives,” Huc continued.
The Saracen Klub will provide annual scholarships for students of color at the University of Pittsburgh beginning in 2016.