Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Westchester County, New York
To read news updates and announcements, scroll below or click NEWS .
To read about recent Archon highlights and accomplishments, scroll below or click NOTEWORTHY.
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 and Valentine's, 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.
After the ceremony, Archons joined Beta Zeta Archousai for the annual Valentine's dinner and dance.
Archon Kennerly was sponsored by Archon Douglas Melancon. Archon Hughes was sponsored by Archon Michael Smart, and Sire Archon Kenneth Austin sponsored Archon Mitchell.
For more about the new Archons and the event, click NEW ARCHONS.
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 will support 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 about the fundraiser and the evening of jazz and comedy and to see more photos, 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. A reception was followed by dinner and dancing.
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 last year in Garden City, LI.
Beta Zeta Boule' will lead the event in 2016. Details about the location will be announced during the year.
For more information Zeta Boule', click ZETA.
Summer Outings, 2015
Beta Zeta Boule' hosted a summer cocktail reception (above), Aug., 2015, on Martha's Vineyard, which attracted Archons and Archousai from Beta Zeta and other Member Boules', those vacationing in the area and those visiting just for the occasion.
Beta Zeta Archons used the Martha's Vineyard outing as an opportunity to invite guests to the Foundation's jazz-comedy fundraiser Sept. 19 in White Plains.
Archons, Archousai and their families (below) also enjoyed a July outing in the Hamptons, which included a pool party and an evening inner. Archons Keith Wofford and Kenneth Austin hosted.
Guests included Beta Zeta Archons, Archousai and other Archons from the NE region.
Archousai Gather for Tea
Beta Zeta Boule' Archousai, 19 in all, met for Sunday-afternoon tea, Oct. 25, in New Rochelle in the first of what is expected to be many special events for Archousai. Archousai Susan Austin, Aliya Leekong, Olga Davis, Monica Hyacinthe, and Prescilla Dixon planned and hosted the gathering at the Wykagyl Golf Club.
Congressman Jeffries Speaks to Archons
Hakeem Jeffries (above), the Democrat Congressman who represents New York's 8th District in Brooklyn and Queens in the U.S. House of Representatives, was a guest speaker to Archons of Beta Zeta Boule' in Manhattan, Nov. 13.
Jeffries, introduced for the occasion by Archon Tyson Pratcher, spoke about prison reform, the upcoming U.S. presidential election, New York City politics, and working with Congress representatives "from both sides of the aisle." He talked, too, about his decision to go into government service, back in college when he was a student leader.
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 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)
Foundation "Selma" Initiative
The Beta Zeta Boule' Foundation helped facilitate funding for the purchase of tickets for students in Westchester County to attend the new movie, "Selma," the highly acclaimed movie that tells the story of the Martin Luther King-led civil-rights march in Selma, Ala., in Mar., 1965.
The funding initiative permitted large numbers of students to see the movie in New Rochelle, Yonkers and White Plains.
Morial, Thompson Speak to Archons
Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, and Kenneth Thompson, Brooklyn District Attorney, were guest speakers at a special meeting and forum, hosted by Beta Zeta Boule' Mar. 13, 2015, in Manhattan. Other Archons from the region (including Alpha Sigma Boule' and Beta Boule') also attended.
Morial (above, top R) and Thompson (above, bottom L) made prepared remarks, touching a broad scope of topics affecting African-American communities in the New York area and across the nation. Morial described the Urban League's new education initiatives and reflected on his tenure as mayor of New Orleans. Thompson, who oversees a unit of over 500 prosecutors, summarized his first year in office and outlined his primary objectives "to be fair and keep Brooklyn citizens safe."
Archon Ralph Dickerson (above) hosted the panel, interviewed the guests, asked Morial and Thompson how Archons in the fraternity can assist them in their goals, and took questions from many Archons.
After the meeting, the New York Times featured Thompson in the Metropolitan Section of the Sunday edition (Mar. 13-15), as it reviewed the impact he has had in his first year in the role. To read the article, click THOMPSON.
Experts Address Education Challenges
At a special forum on education, guest speakers (L-R) Dr. Ed Gordon, Hugh Price and William Goodloe with Archon Maurice Cox presented ideas to address community challenges.
Dr. Ed Gordon, Hugh Price, and William Goodloe were guest speakers at a special Beta Zeta forum addressing eductation challenges in the African-American community, April, 2015, in New Rochelle.
The threesome, introduced to the group by Archon Maurice Cox, addressed topics and provided ideas in areas related to charter schools, teachers' accountability, after-school programs, parents' responsibilities and college preparation. They encouraged communities to create environments promoting and rewarding academic achievement and reflected on the differences in education before desegregation and in today's setting.
Gordon is a professor emeritus in psychology and education from Yale and Columbia Universities. Price was president of the National Urban League from 1994-2003. Goodloe is current CEO of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO). Gordon and Price, as a Past Sire Archon, were long-time members of Beta Zeta Boule'.
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 Gordon Publishes Memoirs
Archon Ed Gordon, taking a stroll at his home in Rockland County last spring, 2014, with Archons Larry Dais and Maurice Cox, has just published his memoirs, Pedagogical Imagination: A Conceptual Memoir, Vol. III (Third World Press). Archon Gordon reflects on his many years of accomplishments in education, psychology and child development. Archon Gordon turned 94 June, 2015. To purchase the book and learn more about it, click MEMOIR. For more about his prominent career, click GORDON.
Archon Milestones, 2016
Archons J. Dennis Jean-Jacques and Thomas Price will celebrate a 15th anniversary in the fraternity in 2016. Archon Jean-Jacques is a past Chair of the Membership Council, and Archon Price is currently the Agogos.
Archons Doug Melancon, Gregg Walker and Shawn Lytle will mark their fifth anniversaries. Archon Melancon was a co-Chair of the Foundation's jazz fundraiser in Sept., 2015. Archon Lytle has served on the Membership Council. Archon Walker has served as Grapter and Grammateus.
Saturday, December 10, 2016: Tri-Boule' Holiday Gala, hosted by
Beta Zeta Boule', the University Club in Manhattan
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 Highlights
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.
Foundation Supports Food Pantries
Archons from Beta Zeta presented checks to representatives from local food pantries at a ceremony in White Plains, Dec. 20
The Beta Zeta Boule' Foundation held a ceremony in White Plains, Dec. 20, 2014, to present checks to food pantries in Westchester County and Harlem. The Foundation has supported food pantries as part of a program since 2010.
Archon Tom Wallace, program leader, organized the event and reports that Beta Zeta has contributed a total of $34,000 to food pantries over the past four years. For more, click Foundation.
Foundation College-Prep Program
The Beta Zeta Boule' Foundation resumed its College-Prep program with presentations at Yonkers high schools in spring, 2016. Archon Buddy Johnson (above) leads the program.
Eagle Academy college counselor Donald Ruff spoke to seniors at two high schools about the college process and gave them advice and guidelines on how to complete applications and present the best of themselves before upcoming deadlines. For more about the program, click FOUNDATION.
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.
In Dec., 2013, the Foundation made follow-up and second presentations at Riverside High School and Yonkers Montessori School. College counselor Donald Ruff (above, left) returned 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. For more, see FOUNDATION and CAMPERSHIPS.
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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Officers for the 2015-2017 Biennium
Kenneth Austin, Sire Archon
Lloyd Brown II, Sire Archon Elect
Dale Akinla II, Immediate Past Sire Archon
Gregg Walker, Grammateus
Kevin Richards, Thesauristes
Damien Atkins, Grapter
Richard Buery, Rhetoricos
Thomas Price, Agogos
Beta Zeta Archons, Feb., 2012, White Plains, NY
Beta Zeta Archons, Feb., 2013, New York, NY