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Iota Phi Theta Fraternity makes history, completes ‘Divine Nine’

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., the last of the Divine Nine, has officially introduced itself to the APSU community with three new members.

The Divine Nine are the nine historically black fraternities and sororities that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Until recently, APSU has had only eight of the nine represented on campus. Things changed five years ago when Tez Baugus, a member of Iota began working to establish a chapter for APSU.

“It is a long time coming, because I came out here solo,” Baugus said. “This is so special to me because we actually get to showcase Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. in front of everybody.”

The fraternity’s official introduction was Friday night in the Clement auditorium. The room was full of APSU students and the Clarksville community. Members of all nine NPHC organizations were there.

“We have all the Divine Nine here now, and that is very big for a campus like this one,” Baugus said.

Few predominantly white institutions in Tennessee have all nine NPHC organizations. APSU and University of Tennessee at Knoxville currently have all nine.

“It was one of my goals when I arrived here, that we would have all nine,” Stephen Dominy, Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, said. “It has been a little more challenging than I anticipated. I am glad to finally see it come to fruition.”

Along with Baugus, Dominy has been working for several years to get an Iota chapter at APSU.

“I have been in conversations since I arrived almost four years ago. We have been working to really help get them off the ground so they can begin to thrive and be successful here on this campus,” Dominy said.

The introduction of this chapter represents diversity, Dominy said.

“It shows a culture shift in dynamics particularly related to diversity, I also think it speaks volumes to the African-American community about the ability to come together and create a community that is unlike anything else across the state,” Dominy said.

Iota Phi Theta is the third Greek organization introduced to campus this semester after Kappa Sigma Fraternity and Sigma Kappa Sorority.

“We’re really looking forward to these men really helping build something that is sustainable, so they can move forward for a long time here at APSU,” Dominy said. “I think it only goes up from here, I think it really does help bring opportunities to not only all students but to particularly our African American students.”

Aurtro Corcoles was one of the three inductees.

“I realized that I was building something from scratch as a single father and being the first male in my family to attend college,” Corcoles said. “I had overcome many obstacles along the way and have been building my legacy in the process.”

When choosing what to pledge, Corcoles saw Iota as a good fit for him.

“Much like the founders of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., I was different, wanted to be different, and did not have time to play childish games.” Corcoles said.

Corcoles’ family was part of his choosing Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.

“I put in the work and achieved something that had not been done before in my family, setting a positive example for the man and woman I am raising on a daily basis.”

Baugus said that now the chapter has been officially introduced, the group has plans for outreach and service.

“It is all about work,” Baugus said. “We are not here for play.”

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