Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Westchester County, New York
To read about recent Archon highlights and accomplishments, scroll below or click NOTEWORTHY.
For updates and news, scroll below for recent activities. For events before 2016, click NEWS.
To learn more about the Beta Zeta Boule' Foundation, its mission and its activities, click FOUNDATION.
To learn more about the history of Beta Zeta Boule', click HISTORY.
To go to the Photo Gallery, click PHOTOS and log in.
To see group photos of Beta Zeta Archons, 2009-present, click BETA ZETA.
To see lists of Beta Zeta leaders, past and present, click OFFICERS.
Induction, December, 2016
Before the Tri-Boule' Christmas gala in New York, Beta Zeta Boule' inducted eight new Archons (above), Dec., 2016
Beta Zeta Boule' inducted eight new Archons into Sigma Pi Phi fraternity at its Induction Ceremony, Dec. 10, 2016, in New York City. The induction preceded the annual Tri-Boule' Christmas Gala at the University Club, hosted by Beta Zeta. The new Archons were joined by the new Archousai at the Gala and were presented to the dinner guests, which included Archons from Zeta Boule' and Alpha Sigma Boule'. Two of the new Archons are second-generation members of the fraternity.
The new Archons include the following:
Archon Alvin Bragg
Archon Steven Bussey
Archon William Edwards
Archon John Harpole
Archon Brian McNeil
Archon Arthur Richardson
Archon Jose Tavarez
Archon Warren Williams
Archon Bragg, sponsored by Archon Grammateus Gregg Walker, is Executive Attorney General for the State of New York. His Archousa is Jamila Bragg.
Archon Bussey was sponsored by Archon Michael Smart. He is a Managing Director at the consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal and is married to Archousa Nichelle Bussey.
Archon Edwards is a Managing Director at the consulting firm Goldin & Associates. He was sponsored by Archon Ron Lumbra and is married to Archousa Nordia Edwards.
Archon Harpole, sponsored by Archon Aren Leekong, is a second-generation Archon. His father, Archon Reuben Harpole, is a member of Gamma Tau Boule' (Milwaukee) and attended the ceremony. He is an Executive Consultant at Spencer Stuart and is married to Archousa Gabi Starr Harpole.
Archon Brian Neil, a physician, was sponsored by Archon Llew Hyacinthe. He is the Vice Chair of Urology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
Archon Richardson was sponsored by Sire Archon Kenneth Austin and is married to Archousa Nisha Richardson. He is a second-generation Archon. His father, Archon Richardson, Jr., a member of Kappa Boule' in Atlanta, attended the ceremony. Archon Richardson is a founder and CEO of Delphian Capital Advisers.
Archon Tavarez, a Managing Director at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, is head of Fixed Income-Emerging Markets. He is married to Archousa Holly Taverez. His induction sponsor was Archon Charles Atkins.
Archon Williams was sponsored by Archon Ralph Dickerson. He is a dentist and Director of Dentistry at the East New York Treatment Center. He is married to Archousa Janet Williams.
Officers for the 2017-19 Biennium
Installed January, 2017
Lloyd W. Brown, II, Sire Archon
Gregg Walker, Sire Archon-Elect
Kenneth Austin, Immediate Past Sire Archon
Bernard Jackson, Grammateus
Douglas Melancon, Thessauristes
Keith Brown, Grapter
C. Douglas Dixon, Agogos
Duane Hughes, Rhetoricos
Keith Wofford, Chairman, Membership Council
Vincent Moore, Membership Council
Michael Bolden, Membership Council
Archousa Starr named Pomona President
Archousa Gabrielle (Gabi) Strarr, wife of Beta Zeta Boule' Archon John Harpole, was appointed Dec., 2017, the new president of Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. She will assume the office July 1 and will become the college's first African-American leader.
Archousa Starr is currently the Dean of College of Arts and Science at New York University. A native of Tallahassee, Fl., she is a graduate of Emory and has a doctorate in English Literature from Harvard. She is a recognized scholar of 18th-Century British Literature and is the author of Feeling Beauty: The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience, a study of how humans respond to the arts (music, painting, poetry and literature). She is the co-Chair of NYU's task force on diversity and inclusion.
Martha's Vineyard, 2016
Archon Ralph Dickerson and Archousa Lisa were hosts of Beta Zeta's summer gathering at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Aug., 2016. About 70 Archons, Archousai, and other guests from Beta Zeta Boule' and from other member Boules' joined the outing, which included special guests Grand Sire Archon Wesley Coleman, Immediate Past Grand Sire Archon James Cole and NE Region Sire Archon Elect Harold Butler. Archon Spencer Disher, formerly of Beta Zeta and now a resident of Charlotte, and his Archousa Katherine were also in attendance.
The outing was also an opportunity for guests to hear from Richard Taylor, the author of the recently published book Martha's Vineyard: Race, Property, and the Power of Place. The book highlights several African-American families who have had a presence and impact on the island for over a century. Taylor, who sold over 75 copies of his new book at the Beta Zeta event, is a director of the Center for Real Estate at Suffolk University in Boston and the Chairman of Taylor-Smith Companies, a real estate investment company.
Archousa Lisa organized logistics, catering, and other details for the event. Archon Greg Burrell from Philadelphia joined Archon Dickerson as a co-host.
Archons pictured here include, among others, Grand Sire Archon Coleman, Immediate Past Sire Archon Cole, Sire Archon Kenneth Austin, Archons Keith Kennerly, Doug Dixon, Spencer Disher, Jonathan Silver, and Ralph Dickerson.
Also below, Beta Zeta Sire Archon Kenneth Austin joins Archon Calvin Butts for a reception in his honor after Archon Butts preached at the Sunday services at Union Chapel on Martha's Vineyard.
Induction and Valentine's, February, 2016
At its annual Valentine's dinner for Archousai and Induction Ceremony, Beta Zeta Boule' inducted three new Archons, Feb. 6, 2016, at the Harvard Club in New York City. The new members of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity are Archons Keith Kennerly, Duane Hughes and Marcus Mitchell. For more, click NEW ARCHONS.
Mehlman and Sharpton Address Beta Zeta
As part of its politics series to address current issues voters face, Beta Zeta Boule' invited Ken Mehlman, former campaign manager for President George W. Bush in the 2004 election, and Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network, to speak to Archons at its Nov., 2016, monthly meeting.
Mehlman is currently a partner for global public affairs at the the private-equity firm KKR. Rev. Sharpton is also the host of a Saturday-morning talk show on MSNBC-TV.
Archon Keith Wofford hosted the meeting and speaker session in Manhattan.
East Hampton, 2016
Beta Zeta Archons, along with Archousai and other guests, gathered at the Austins in East Hampton for the annual summer picnic, Aug., 2016. Archons Ossie Lewis and Buddy Johnson greeted guests (above).
Archon Ballou and Global News Issues
Archon Keith Brown (above, L) moderates a discussion with Archon Jeffrey Ballou on global political topics.
Archon Jeffrey Ballou, a senior news editor at the Al Jazeera, the television news channel, and the current Vice President of the National Press Club, was a guest speaker at the September Beta Zeta Boule' meeting.
Archon Ballou talked about his experiences as a journalist, the objectives of Al Jazeera in presenting issues and information of countries in the Middle East and his role as an officer at the National Press Club. He is also the Agogos for the NE Region, Sigma Pi Phi, and has been nominated to be the upcoming President of the Press Club. Archon Keith Brown moderated the discussion.
Beta Zeta Archons, above, participate in a discussion of Middle Eastern politics and other global issues with Archon Jeffrey Ballou of Washington, DC.
Archon Graham and "The Talk"
Archon Lawrence O. Graham (above) appeared in an episode of "20/20" on ABC-TV, July, 2016, to discuss how black parents, even those with means, advise their children on how to respond when they come in contact with law-enforcement officers.
The interview was a follow-up to a previous television interview where Graham offered advice to young African-Americans on how to dress in public to avoid possible confrontations with police officials.
Eagle Academy Presentation
The Eagle Academy Schools, now located at six sites in the New York area, launched 11 years ago, are education institutions for black boys, particularly those who grow up at risk with challenges at home and in their environment. Archons Buddy Johnson of Beta Zeta Boule' and Archons Mark Getachew and Paul Williams of Zeta Boule', current members of the Eagle Foundation that oversees the schools and raises funds for them, were guest speakers at an April, 2016, Beta Zeta meeting.
The Foundation is hosting its fifth-annual scholarship awards breakfast, Apr. 29, in New York. Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton will be the guest speaker.
Eagle Academy Schools are public schools that have adopted an Eagle Academy model. The model emphasizes parental involvement, academics, college planning, rituals, mentor and summer programs, and after-school sessions.
Over 600 students have graduated from the schools (which have expanded beyond the burroughs of New York into Newark); 97% of the 2,500 current students are black or Latino. Last year's graduation rate was 83% (vs. 53% in New York City).
The Archons provided updates and progress on the model at the meeting. They explained the importance of community and parent engagement. They shared stories of recent graduates, some enrolled at top schools in the country. Over the past decade, all three Archons were instrumental in the planning, organizing and growth of the Eagle model. Archon Getachew is the current Chair of the Foundation (roles previously held by Archons Johnson and Williams).
Clinton previously spoke at an Eagle Academy graduation. Click EAGLE for more details and background about the schools.
Beta Zeta Finance Panel
Beta Zeta Boule' hosted a special panel (above) on investments and finance in May, 2016 in Manhattan. Guest speakers addressed "The Current State of Global Markets."
Archon Michael Smart, who has over 25 years in private equity and investment banking, moderated the panel, which included Beta Zeta Archon Tyson Pratcher, head of Opportunistic Investing at the NYCRF.
Other panelists included Chris Lee, partner of KKR Real Estate; Jose Tavares, head of Emerging Markets Debt at BoA-Merrill; Ray Whiteman, founder of Stellex (distressed debt and special situations), and Vern Perry, partner at Blackstone Strategic Parners.
Wharton Speaks to Archons
Clifton Wharton, Jr., who recently published his memoirs that recount an illustrious, impactful career as CEO and head of major institutions around the country, was a guest speaker at Beta Zeta Boule' March, 2016.
Wharton told stories about growing up as the son of a diplomat and working and living in Southeast Asia, soon after he was the first black person to earn a doctorate in economics from the Univ. of Chicago. Wharton grew up in Boston and enrolled at Harvard at the age of 16.
In 1969, he was appointed the president of the Michigan State Univ. With Beta Zeta Archons, he recounted his years as head of the university and how he successfully managed years of student strife and demonstrations on campus. (Wharton was a member of the fraternity during his years in Michigan. Today, an arts building on campus is named in his honor.)
In 1978, Wharton became CEO of TIAA-CREF, the first African-American to lead a Fortune 500 company. He spoke about his effectiveness as a leader and aggressive efforts to revive and grow what had been sluggishly performing company. He also talked about how he groomed and acted as mentor for many others who have since become top business leaders today.
Wharton left TIAA-CREF to become Chancellor of the SUNY system in 1987 and remained there until he assumed a role in the State Department during the Clinton Administratin. Wharton has also served as Chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Archon Smart Appointed
To Accounting Advisory Board
Archon Michael Smart was appointed Mar., 2016, to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Investor Advisory Group. He was selected for a three-year term.
The PCAOB was created after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S. Congress after accounting failures contributed to the demise of such companies as Enron and WorldCom. The board is independent and recommends standards for reporting, disclosure, and auditing by public companies. The Investors Advisors Group, on which Archon Smart will serve, will make recommendations on behalf of investor groups.
Archon Smart, Co-Managing Partner of CSW Private Equity, also serves as Chair of the Beta Zeta Boule' Foundation. He was inducted into the fraternity in 2000.
Archon Archie Bankston
Archon Archie Bankston with his Archousa Emma Ann at the Grand Boule' when Beta Zeta Boule' was chartered in 1978 (top, R) and with Archon John Gibbs in 2012 in White Plains at the Foundation's fundraiser event (middle, R).
Archon Archie Bankston, a charter founding member of Beta Zeta Boule' who had been an involved and engaged member since 1978, died in Saratoga Fla., Jan. 18, 2016.
Because he was spending more time in Florida, Archon Bankston had requested a transfer to Gamma Xi Boule' this past Nov., 2015. Until then, he had been active with Beta Zeta Boule' and the fraternity for over 37 years. He and Archon Don Ryder had been the remaining active founding members of Beta Zeta in recent years.
Archon Bankston was among the group of 22 Archons who were inducted into the fraternity at the Grand Boule' at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan in July, 1978. Zeta Boule' of Manhattan was the sponsoring member Boule'.
Through the years, Archon Bankston served many roles in the fraternity in Beta Zeta and at the Grand level. In recent years, he was instrumental in helping draft by-laws, recommending best practices and reviewing traditions and served as an informal historian for the group. He was a W.E.B. DuBois legacy member of the Boule' Foundation.
While he maintained residences in Scarsdale and Florida, he continued to attend meetings, inductions, Valentine's dinners, summer outings and Christmas galas when he was in the New York area. He was eager to meet new Archons and Archousai and welcome them into the fraternity and explain its history and traditions.
For this website, he prepared a short history of Beta Zeta, based on his three decades of membership and wanted to ensure there was a detailed written account of Beta Zeta's formation for Archons to see in the generations to come. Click BZB History and scroll to the bottom to read his account.
"There was an exciting program of activities as only the fascination and charm of New York City and the majestic grandeur of the Waldorf-Astoria could provide," Archon Bankston wrote in 2014. He described how the 22 new Archons gathered in the Duke of Windsor Room in the hotel on Saturday, Jul. 29, 1978 at 4 pm to become the 52nd member Boule' of Sigma Pi Phi.
Archon Bankston was one of the first senior African-American executives at Con Edison. From 1989-2002, he was Secretary, Associate General Counsel and Vice President. Before then, he had served as a staff lawyer at Pepsico, Xerox and General Foods.
Archon Bankston always had fond memories of his time at Fisk University, from where he graduated with a BA degree. After Fisk, he received law and MBA degrees from Washington University (St. Louis). He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, 100 Black Men, African American Men of Westchester County, and Westchester Clubmen. He is survived by his Archousa Emma Ann Bankston and their children, Alice and Louis.
A more detailed biography of Archon Bankston's life, prepared when he and Archon Ryder celebrated 35 years in Beta Zeta, also appears in this website. (Archon Ryder, an architect, is best known for having designed the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta and the Schomberg Center in Harlem.) Click BANKSTON.
A memorial service in Archon Bankston's memorial was held in Saratoga at the St. Wilfred Episcopal Church, Jan. 25. Archons of Sigma Pi Phi who were present performed the Omega ceremony in his honor. The family requests that donations be made in his memory to the The Boule' Foundation (260 Peachtree St., NW, Ste. 1604, Atlanta, Ga. 30303).
Archon Archie Bankston (above) greets guests at the Beta Zeta Boule' fundraiser event in White Plains, Sept., 2012.
Archon Atkins Named to 100 Most Influential List
Archon Damien Atkins was named by Savoy Magazine to its Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America for 2016. The publication announced its list Feb 29.
Archon Atkins is currently General Counsel for Panasonic North America and Corporate Secretary. He joined Panasonic last year after several years in a General Counsel role at AOL.
A committee annually determines the final 100 from an initial list of 500 candidates. This year's list includes executives in multiple industries, including banking, technology, media and healthcare. Besides Archon Atkins, the list also includes Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, American Express CEO Kenneth Chennault, and JCPenney CEO Marvin Ellison.
Archon Atkins was inducted into Beta Zeta in Feb., 2014, and was sponsored by his uncle Archon Charles Atkins.
Foundation Fundraiser, 2015
Donald Harrison, on saxophone, and his band from New Orleans were the headline performers for the Foundation's fundraiser in White Plains, Sept. 19
Archon Gregg Walker (top, L) was the emcee for the evening of jazz and comedy Sept. 19 in White Plains and introduced the performers Leighann Lord and Donald Harrison and his band.
Before an enthusiastic crowd of Archons, Archousai and many special guests from the region, the Beta Zeta Boule' Foundation hosted a fundraiser, featuring a spirited jazz concert by saxophonist Donald Harrison at the White Plains Performing Arts Center Sept. 19, 2015. Leighann Lord opened up the evening with a comedy show that aroused the crowd and got it ready for Harrison's jazz, funk and soul show afterward. The Foundation raised over $50,000. Proceeds supported the Foundation's programs, including college scholarships, food pantries, summer camp for youth and college advisory and preparation. Archons Doug Melancon and Gregg Walker were co-Chairs of the event.For more, click FOUNDATION.
Archon C. Douglas Dixon and Archousa Priscilla Dixon were honored at the ninth annual "Be Great" dinner for family contributions and achievements
Archon Dixon Honored
Archon C. Douglas Dixon, along with his Archousa Priscilla Dixon, was honored by the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle, Feb. 26, 2016, at its "Be Great" dinner at the VIP Country Club.
They were honored for years of contributions to the Club and community. Archon Dixon is currently secretary of the board of directors of the Club. He is a past Grapter of Beta Zeta Boule' and was inducted in 2000.
Throughout his career, Archon Dixon specialized in real estate and corporate law in his private practice and was General Counsel for the National Minority Supplier Development Council. He is now Chairman of the Arthur S. Dixon Family Foundation, which funds scholarships and youth programs in the region.
Toure' and Calhoun Speak to Archons
Archon Larry Graham (top, L) with television producer Wendy Calhoun. Archon Keith Brown (bottom, L) with commentator, critic and author Toure' in New Rochelle, Jan. 8.
Political commentator and cultural critic Toure' and television producer and writer Wendy Calhoun were guest speakers at the Beta Zeta Boule' meeting in New Rochelle, Jan. 8, 2016.
Toure', who has appeared regularly on CNN, MSNBC and BET, is the author of several books, including Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness. With Beta Zeta Archons, he discussed the political environment for the 2016 presidential election and responded to several questions and comments from Archons. He was a guest of Archon Keith Brown.
Calhoun is currently a co-executive producer and writer for the FOX television series, Empire. She talked about her growing up in Dallas, coming to NYU for college and her relentless efforts after graduation to become a Hollywood writer. She was a guest of Archon Larry Graham.
New York Tri-Boule' Xmas Gala, 2015
Beta Zeta Archons and Archousai at the Tri-Boule' Christmas Gala in Manhattan, Dec. 12, 2015
Zeta Boule' of Manhattan hosted the annual Tri-Boule' Christmas Gala at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers 61, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Zeta Boule', now in its 103rd year, previously hosted the Gala in Manhattan in 2012. Alpha Sigma Boule' of Long Island/ Brooklyn hosted the event in 2014 in Garden City, LI.
Dr. Beny Primm:
Expert in AIDS Care and Addiction
Dr. Beny Primm, an early expert and leader in the care of AIDS patients and those who fell under the addiction of drugs, died Oct. 16, 2015, in New Rochelle. Dr. Primm was a former member of Beta Zeta Boule' and the Fraternity. He was 87.
Dr. Primm, in 1969, founded the Addiction Research and Treatment Corp. and opened up treatment centers for heroin addiction in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He and his clinic began to treat AIDS patients, including those who contracted the HIV virus from infected needles, as early as 1983.
A graduate of DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, he received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia State Univ. After a stint in the military, he attended medical schools in German and Switzerland before returning to the U.S.
He served on presidential commissions related to AIDS and drug addiction during in the 1980's. He published his memoir, A Healer's Crusade: A Doctor's Crusade Against AIDS and Addiction in 2014.
Funeral services were held at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, Oct. 21.
The Dr. Beny Primm Award, established in 2007, recognizes a black male medical student who is committed to improving health care in disadvantaged communities.
Induction and Valentine's, 2015
New Archons Bernard Jackson, Karim Hutson, Jonathan Silver, Tyson Pratcher and Keith Brown (with sponsors in bottom photo) were inducted into the fraternity, Feb. 7, 2015, in New York City.
New Archons Jackson, Hutson, Pratcher, Brown and Silver (above) pose for photos after the induction and greet guests at the dinner with their Archousai.
Beta Zeta Archons and Archousai (above) after the Induction and during the Valentine's Party at the Harvard Club of New York, Feb. 7, 2015 (Margot Jordan photos)
Tri-Boule' Xmas Gala, 2014
Beta Zeta Archousai join for the annual group Christmas photo at the Tri-Boule' Gala on Long Island, Dec. 13.
Christmas is for the Archousai. Alpha Sigma Boule' (Brooklyn, Long Island) hosted the Tri-Boule' Xmas Gala Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Garden City Hotel in Garden City, Long Island.
Archons, Archousai and guests from Alpha Sigma, Beta Zeta and Zeta enjoy the reception (above) before the dinner-dance.
Archon Milestones, 2017
Fifteen Years: Archons Ralph Dickerson and Frank Watkins
Ten Years: Archons Lloyd W. Brown II, Tracy Williams III and Michael Bolden
Five Years: Archons Gerald Adolph and Keith Wofford
Saturday, February 11: Valentine's Dinner and Party for Archousai, White Plains, New York
Induction Highlights, 2014
The new 2014 Archons were inducted at ceremonies at the Harvard Club in New York. They include (top, from L-R) Archons Richard Buery, Derek Jones, Ron Lumbra, Damien Atkins and Val Burroughs. (Photos courtesy of Margot L. Jordan)
Beta Zeta Archons and Archousai (above) gathered for the annual Valentine's Dinner for Archousai at the Harvard Club in New York City, Feb. 8, 2014(Jordan photos)
Tri-Boule' Christmas Gala, 2013
The New York Botanical Garden was the site of the 2013 Gala. Beta Zeta Archons and Archousai hosted Archons and Archousai from Alpha Sigma and Zeta. (Photos courtesy of Margot L. Jordan)
Sire Archon Dale Akinla II (top, left) confers with Past Sire Archon Winder Fisher during the reception. Archons from Beta Zeta Boule' and Zeta Boule' at the Tri-Boule' Gala at the New York Botanical Garden (Photos courtesy of Margot L. Jordan)
For more about the Foundation's scholarship, camper-ship and food-pantry programs, fundraising and other recent activities, click BZBF.
Archons from Beta Zeta presented checks to representatives from local food pantries at a ceremony in White Plains, Dec. 20, 2014
Archon Buddy Johnson (above) leads the Foundation's College-Prep program to assist students in Yonkers in preparing for college and gaining admission at the schools of choice.
In May, 2013, the Foundation sponsored sessions at two high schools in Yonkers, featuring college counselor Donald Ruff (above). Archons Gregory Matthews and Spencer Disher joined Archon Buddy Disher at the presentations.
At Riverside High School and Yonkers Montessori School, college counselor Donald Ruff (above, left) returned in Dec., 2013, to speak to high-school students about all aspects of the college-application process. Archon Buddy Johnson (with Ruff, above right) also spoke to the students.
Campers from Camp Olmsted gather for a photo session in Manhattan, 2012 (above). The Beta Zeta Boule' Foundation sponsors camperships to make it possible for campers to spend the summer in Cornwall on Hudson, NY.
Beta Zeta Boule'
Westchester County, New York
For the latest, click NEWS and NOTEWORTHY
For Beta Zeta history, click FOUNDERS
To see lists of Beta Zeta leaders and officers, past and present, click OFFICERS
To learn about its activities and projects, click FOUNDATION
To reach the Grand Boulé site, click NATIONAL
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Beta Zeta Archons, Feb., 2012, White Plains, NY
Beta Zeta Archons, Feb., 2013, New York, NY