UC San Diego’s “Divine Nine” Plaza is a First in California

May 01, 2024

The pillars represent the nine historically Black fraternities and sororities: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., 1906; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., 1908; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., 1911; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., 1911; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., 1913; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., 1914; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., 1920; Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., 1922; Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., 1963. Photo: Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego

The “Divine Nine” Plaza honors the legacy of historically Black fraternities and sororities.

This article originally appeared in the spring 2024 issue of UC San Diego Magazine as “First in California.”

In October 2023, UC San Diego unveiled the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Plaza, a gathering space that honors the legacy of historically Black fraternities and sororities. The first of its kind in California, the plaza features nine pillars, each representing one of the nine membership organizations that together are known as the Divine Nine. The NPHC was founded at Howard University in 1930 to foster fellowship and community among Black Greek letter organizations through educational, economic and cultural service activities. In 2021, UC San Diego students affiliated with the NPHC and the Black Resource Center spearheaded the proposal for a plaza on campus. 

“The plaza is a legacy for future students who come to this campus looking for a sense of belonging,” says Abria Diaz-Shelby ’22, former NPHC president and a driving force behind the plaza proposal. 

For Glynda Davis, retired senior diversity officer at UC San Diego and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the new plaza is a place to celebrate success, grow connections and work together to promote better outcomes for all. “To me, this plaza represents the campus embracing the Black community’s commitment to scholarship, leadership and service through the Divine Nine Organizations,” says Davis. “It is a visible reminder of what the Black community brings to the campus and shares with the campus.”

With the support of university leadership, the plaza now stands as a community gathering space for future generations of Tritons that honors those who came before, celebrates the present and welcomes a transformational future.  

Learn more about sorority and fraternity life at UC San Diego at getinvolved.ucsd.edu/sfl.