The University of Michigan chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity officialized the Honorable Harold J. Hood LEAD Scholarship through the U-M Alumni Association in February. After initially announcing the scholarship as part of the chapter’s centennial on Feb. 22, the program will offer selected students a minimum annual award of $5,000 during their four years at the University. The merit-based scholarship is endowed by the Sigma Chapter Foundation, a nonprofit supporting the U-M Kappa Alpha Psi chapter.
Kappa Alpha Psi is a fraternity with a predominantly Black membership first founded at Indiana University in 1911. The Sigma Chapter was founded at the University of Michigan in 1922. U-M alum Reginald Hammond Jr., Sigma Chapter scholarship chair spoke with The Michigan Daily about the fraternity’s success over the 101 years it has been a part of the U-M campus.
“The motto for our fraternity is ‘achievement in every field of human endeavor,’ ” Hammond said. “We found that the men who have come into our fraternity have had a lot of success and really lived up to that motto.”
As the chapter celebrated its centennial last year, Hammond said the fraternity wanted to consider the legacy of the past 100 years and look toward the future. U-M alum Kevin Hood, Sigma Chapter centennial chair, spoke with The Daily about the chapter’s legacy.
“There’s a bigger legacy that’s beyond all of us that we want to make sure that we uphold,” Hood said. “This scholarship is a great opportunity for that as it’s funded in perpetuity.”
According to Hood, the preparation for the centennial was a five-year endeavor. The celebrations incorporated many reunion events, including a Gala Weekend in July 2022 which recognized current members and alumni alike.
“We had several programs leading up to last year,” Hood said. “The scholarship was intended to create another vehicle to help minority students who sometimes may not have the means in which to thrive.”
The scholarship primarily targets prospective U-M students. If selected for the scholarship, students will also have the benefit of being a LEAD Scholar, which offers merit-based scholarships for incoming first-year students who embody leadership, excellence, achievement and diversity. According to Hood, the chapter’s scholarship will primarily support minority students.
“We personally have an initial interest for minority, African American males but, not to be exclusionary within a minority group, it is targeted toward minorities in general,” Hood said.
The scholarship was created in honor of U-M alum Harold J. Hood, who graduated in 1952 and was the son of Kevin Hood. Hood said Harold J. Hood strove for excellence and strongly believed in continuous self-improvement.
“Committee members vetted multiple names and ultimately (the decision) came to which of our chapter brothers represents our objectives as a fraternity, our aims and purposes, and (Harold J. Hood’s) name bubbled to the top,” Kevin Hood said.
Hammond said one of the reasons for the scholarship’s implementation was the chapter’s mission to give back to future generations.
“We wanted to give back and provide others with the opportunity to be able to come in and also find their footing at the University of Michigan, get their support and then go on to also be successful,” Hammond said.
According to Hammond, the fraternity wants this scholarship to assist U-M students in achieving their dreams and provide the support they need on campus.
“(Kappa Alpha Psi), by endowing the scholarship, really wants to leave a permanent mark where we continue to let Black men know that they are welcome on this campus,” Hammond said. “We want to help them have the resources financially, as well as socially, to be able to have the opportunity to thrive through the LEAD scholars program, through our endowment.”
Nicholos Daniel, current polemarch, or president, of Kappa Alpha Psi, said he hopes the scholarship will allow future students to push themselves to be the best they can be. As a LEAD Scholar himself, Daniel said the chapter’s scholarship implementation hits close to home.
“Being able to see the scholarship come to fruition is a true honor and privilege,” Daniel said. “To be a part of the (University) legacy … that’s something that’s going to exist for a long time.”