On February 3, 1952, two men of Sigma had a thought: why not start a chapter in Westchester County? Courageously, tirelessly and feverishly they worked gathering the Sigma men in the area. Who were they? Bro. Thurman O. Hunt & Bro. Edward DesVerney.
Bro. DesVerney became our first President and served faithfully until 1958 when he joined Omega chapter. Bro. Hunt, who became our second President, was instrumental in bringing other brothers into the chapter. In the years 1953, 1954, and 1955, Beta Psi Sigma Chapter sponsored several forums, teas as well as formal dances.
In May 1964, under the leadership of Bro. Eugene Whitlock, Sr., Beta Psi Sigma Chapter hosted the 50th Golden Anniversary Eastern Regional Conference, the theme was “Phi Beta Sigma: 1914-1964; A Past to Cherish, A Future to Fulfill.” Beta Psi Sigma chapter was presented with a trophy from the NAACP in appreciation of the chapter’s efforts in the community. In 1976, Beta Psi Sigma Chapter hosted its second Eastern Regional Conference.
1988 saw the resurgence of Beta Psi Sigma Chapter. Under the leadership of Brothers Lamont S. Granby and Leonard P. Rice, Jr., the chapter once again became an active force in the community. Our resurgence was celebrated on Saturday, November 11, 1989 when we hosted our First Scholarship formal, An Evening of Ambience.”
Since that eventful evening, Beta Psi Sigma Chapter has had many successful programs that include Project S.H.A.R.E., the Holiday Toy Drive, Prostate Cancer Screenings and health clinics, various outings with disadvantaged youth, and an annual bowling tournament was instituted to raise money for the Bro. Benjamin F. McLaurin Scholarship Fund.
In 1991, Bro. John F. Campbell was elected President where he served faithfully for 6 years. Under Bro. Campbell, the chapter grew tremendously. Several programs were instituted including monthly visits to Children’s Village, a group home for disadvantaged boys, an annual trip to Yankee Stadium, bus trips to Atlantic City. We also participated in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the Westchester County Center. At our first appearance at the affair, the chapter began a petition drive that eventually led to the addition of Black Entertainment Television to Westchester County. We also brought the first Organ Donation workshop to this event.
Beta Psi Sigma is a charter member of the Westchester/Rockland Pan-Hellenic Council where Bro. Campbell served as its first treasurer and Bro. Kevin D. Miller served as its 7th president. Beta Psi Sigma is also an active, longtime member of the Black Scholars Community Partnership board, a group that recognizes African-American high school seniors in Westchester County who have a ‘B’ Average or better with a recognition luncheon in June.
A chapter that plays together stays together. That’s why Beta Psi Sigma instituted an Annual chapter Christmas party and summer picnic for chapter members and their families. In 1997, the chapter began a Tailgate party to the Urban League Classic Football game, which was and continues to be a huge success. In 2005, the tailgate was named the Brother William Graham Tailgate Party after Brother Bill Graham, an elder statesman of the chapter before his passing. Brother Graham was initiated into SIGMA via Upsilon Chapter in 1958 and was an active and financial in Beta Psi Sigma chapter.
1997 was a monumental year in Beta Psi Sigma History! On December 6 1997, Beta Psi Sigma made SIGMA history by initiating 4 men from the United States Military Academy at West Point. The ceremony took place at the home of Sigma’s 30th International President, the Honorable Peter M. Adams, who also presided over the ceremony. This marked the first time in Sigma’s 84-year history that men were initiated who were enrolled in a military academy! Also in 1997, Bro. Leonard P. Rice, Jr. was elevated to the position of New York State Director and Bro. John Campbell was appointed to the position of International Director of Publicity for Phi Beta Sigma, marking the first national officer and General Board member in Beta Psi Sigma chapter. Bro. Campbell served in this capacity from 1997-2001 under the 30th International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, the Honorable Peter M. Adams, Esquire.
The chapter has continued its rich tradition of community service. A chapter basketball team has played charity games against other fraternal organizations with the proceeds benefiting the Remington Boys Club in New Rochelle. A chapter step team was created to help raise the visibility of Sigma. Beta Psi Sigma Chapter is currently recruiting for its Sigma Beta Club, the youth affiliate group of the Fraternity.
Beta Psi Sigma celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2002, under the leadership of Reverend Brother Kevin D. Miller. Fifty years of service to the community was highlighted throughout the year with a variety of programs culminating in the fall with Beta Psi Sigma’s 50th Anniversary Blue Tie Formal Awards Banquet held at Antun’s of Westchester. It was a huge success supported by the many SIGMA and ZETA chapters of New York City. The chapter reached and exceeded its goal of 50 financial brothers. 50 Brothers for 50 years was the theme.
The mid 2000’s saw a resurgence of the community service efforts of the chapter. The chapter established an annual book scholarship in the spring of 2003 to a male graduating senior at DeWitt Clinton High School. The scholarship, the Brother Howard Langston Memorial Book Scholarship was established at DeWitt Clinton High School to honor our deceased Brother Howard Langston, a DeWitt Clinton High School Alumnus. The chapter began sponsoring a baseball team in the Co-op City Little League in the summer of 2003. Our team, “The Lil Sigmas”, won their first minor league championship in the Summer of 2005.
Beta Psi Sigma chapter has also increased it’s involvement with the March of Dimes. The chapter has increased and exceeded its fund raising goals 100% a year over the past three years. The chapter has received recognition plaques thanking us for our commitment. In fact, in 2005, Beta Psi Sigma Chapter raised 10% of total funds raised by the entire fraternity for the 2005 March of Dimes Walk America event. Other events that the chapter has participated in include: participation with our Sorors of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc – Kappa Epsilon Zeta Chapter in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life (2nd place fundraising team in 2006), an annual clothing drive for homeless families held each October, annually feed the homeless and disadvantaged during Thanksgiving, and an annual toy drive for disadvantaged youth held during the Christmas Season.
In the Spring of 2003, at the 88th Anniversary Eastern Regional Conference, held in Brooklyn, New York (hosted by Kappa Beta Sigma chapter) Brother Joel Victor was elected as the Eastern Regional Director of Social Action. This marked the first time in Beta Psi Sigma chapter history that a member of the chapter was elected to serve on the Eastern Regional Board. Brother Victor was reappointed in the Spring of 2004 at the 89th Eastern Regional Conference, held in Washington, DC (hosted by Alpha Sigma chapter).
In the Fall of 2005, Beta Psi Sigma Chapter President, Brother Darrick Fuller, consulted with Brother Greville French, 23Rd Eastern Regional Director and Brother Curtis Banks, NYS about chartering a chapter of SIGMA at the United States Military Academy at West Point. After several discussions and receiving official permission from West Point, plans were made for West Point to receive their own chapter. In the Spring of 2006, six young men were initiated into our beloved fraternity and became the charter members of Beta Beta Upsilon Chapter. The chapter received their charter on Saturday April 29, 2006 at the 91st Anniversary Regional Conference (hosted by Chi Sigma Chapter) held in New Brunswick New Jersey. Since December 6, 1997, West Point Cadets wishing to become Men of Sigma were initiated into Beta Psi Sigma Chapter. Beta Beta Upsilon Chapter became the second recognized Black Greek Lettered Organization on West Point’s Campus. Lastly, and certainly not in the least, it was too at this Regional Conference that Beta Psi Sigma chapter had its second member elected to the Eastern Regional Board. Brother Darrick Fuller, CPA, chapter President, ran unopposed and was elected the Eastern Regional Treasurer.