With an exceptionally strong motivation to assist people with social problems since his early youth, Brother Alvin Harrison has spent his entire career as a social worker and with the Federal Veterans Administration. His first assignment after graduate school was on the medical/surgical units of the VA Medical Center, Syracuse, New York where he remained for eighteen months. He then transferred to the VA Outpatient Clinic where he was a traveling social worker. His territory covered Northern New York State placing patients in community care homes and consulted with other VA Medical Centers in assisting them in placing patients.
He was later transferred to the VA Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri where he worked in the medical/surgical units and later transferred to the community care section to resume his activities of placing patients in the community.
His final transfer was to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Montrose, NY where Brother Harrison was promoted to Supervisory Psychiatric Social Worker, then to Assistant Chief and then finally Chief Social Worker at this medical facility. Chief Social Worker is the highest attainable position in the VA outside of the Headquarters function in Washington, DC.
While Brother Harrison was ascending the career ladder in his profession, he maintained close and active ties with Kappa Alpha Psi in the several locations where he resided. While in Syracuse he helped to initiate the Syracuse Alumni Association, the forerunner of the now Syracuse Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. He was a long time member of the St. Louis Alumni Chapter and takes particular pride at how that chapter built its relatively new Kappa house in a urban renewal area.
In the New Rochelle-White Plains Alumni Chapter, Brother Harrison has been a solid achiever. Variously, he has held the position of Polemarch, Vice Polemarch, Keeper of Records and served on the Board of Directors. He has been the recipient of both the Kappa of the Year Award and the Annual Service Award. He was also the chapter’s Dean of Pledgees.
Brother Harrison was initiated in the fraternity at the Southern University Chapter, the Alpha Sigma of Kappa Alpha Psi where he served as the chapter’s Keeper of Records. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from Southern, he entered Atlanta University receiving a Master’s Degree from its School of Social Work. During his tenure at Atlanta University his Social Work internship was completed at the Tuskegee Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Alabama.
Brother Harrison is a member of a family that is strongly community and social services oriented. His wife, Jennie, is seeking to be a national officer of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. His daughter, Shirley, a former president, Westchester – Rockland Pan Hellenic Council, is the editor of the Zeta Phi Beta National Journal. His daughter Kim, a Zeta as well, is a Vice President of Fleet Bank in Philadelphia, PA, and son Vic, is a Kappa with the Dallas (TX) Alumni Chapter.
Brother Harrison has many hobbies including train sets, the collection of various kinds of hats and whiskey and wine glasses (he is also a wine taster) and a World War II buff.
Since his retirement in 1990, Brother Harrison has served as an Equal Employment Investigator for Veteran’s Administration Headquarters, Washington, DC representing the Headquarters office to current VA employees who file complaints.
These shared experiences reveal an interesting and challenging life lived by Brother Harrison. When asked about aspirations for Kappa Alpha Psi, he stated that he hoped that our chapter will consent to owning a Kappa House in Westchester County someday.