Our Founders

Our Founders

Elder Watson Diggs


Founder Elder Watson Diggs, was quiet, polished, scholarly, a prolific writer and commonly referred to as ‘the Father of Kappa’. He was born in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky, on December 23, 1883, and was the eldest son of three children. Diggs and his brother (William Ellis) and sister (Effie) were reared by their mother, Cornelia.


He received a one-room school education in Louisville, Kentucky, where he helped teach the younger children. Following graduation from Indiana State Normal School in the spring of 1908, Diggs enrolled at Howard University in 1909. While a student there, he developed a friendship with fellow Hoosier, Byron K. Armstrong.

Byron Kenneth Armstrong


Founder Byron Kenneth Armstrong, affectionately known as “Boomski”, was a scholar, imaginative and outspoken. He was born in Westfield, Hamilton County, Indiana, on April 8, 1892, was one of five children and was the cousin of 2nd Grand Polemarch, Irven Armstrong.


Armstrong enrolled at Howard University in 1909, met Elder W. Diggs and together, they transferred to Indiana University in the fall of 1910 where he studied philosophy, mathematics and sociology.

Ezra Dee Alexander


Founder Ezra Dee Alexander, an outgoing and dedicated worker, fondly known as “Dee”, was born in Monroe County, Bloomington, Indiana on July 18, 1891 and was the second eldest of seven children.


Alexander graduated from Bloomington High School in 1910. He matriculated to Indiana University in the fall of 1910 and graduated from Indiana University in 1917 with an A.B. degree. Prior to graduation, he held positions as a teacher and principal at Indiana public schools. He received his M.D. degree from the Medical School of Indiana University in 1919.

Henry Tourner Asher


Founder Henry Tourner Asher, an unassuming, dependable supporter of Negro youth, equal rights, higher education and religious affairs and son of a Baptist Minister, was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 30, 1890 and was the eldest of seven children.


He moved to Bloomington, Indiana, attended public schools and graduated from the Bloomington High School in 1910. He enrolled at Indiana University in 1910, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1914. He became an instructor at Lincoln Institute at Jefferson City, Missouri from 1914-1915.

Marcus Peter Blakemore


Founder Marcus Peter Blakemore, affectionately known as “Blakie”, a man of deep religious convictions and quiet confidence, contributed greatly to education, his community, his church, hospitals and his Fraternity, was born in Franklin, Indiana on January 3, 1889 and was the eldest of four children.


Blakemore moved with his family to Anderson, Indiana where he attended public schools and graduated from high school in 1909. He entered Indiana University the following year. After leaving Indiana University in the spring term of 1912, he organized the Electric Engineering Company, which he operated until he enlisted with the U.S. Army in World War I.

Paul Waymond Caine


Founder Paul Waymond Caine, the consummate entrepreneur, chef before his time, always friendly and displaying a pleasant disposition, was born in Greencastle, Indiana on May 17, 1890. He was long thought to be an only-child, but now known to have a half-brother.


Caine attended Greencastle public schools and enrolled at Indiana University sometime between 1909 and 1910 as a business major. He was adept at cooking and he honed those skills while working at DePauw University, where he worked as a cook in the sorority houses prior to enrolling at Indiana University. He was a fine caterer and was in demand by the White fraternities on campus and kept many of the Founding Brothers from hunger.

George Wesley Edmonds


Founder George Wesley Edmonds, witty in nature and an enigma to most in the Fraternity was born in Knight Township, Vanderburgh County, Indiana on August 13, 1890, as the eldest of two sons.a.


He attended the Carver Elementary School and Clark High School in nearby Evansville, Indiana and enrolled at Indiana University in the fall of 1910. He joined nine other students in founding Kappa Alpha Nu Fraternity. Founder Edmonds was listed as the Corresponding Secretary in the articles of incorporation of the Grand Chapter of Kappa Alpha Nu. He was one of the three freshmen, along with Asher and Blakemore, who were the first initiates of the Alpha of Kappa Alpha Nu..

Guy Levis Grant


Founder Guy Levis Grant, small in stature, but a giant in charitable endeavors and preserver of history, was born in New Albany, Indiana on April 9, 1891 and was the third of thirteen children, five of which became members of the Fraternity. When his father died, he became head of household and assumed responsibility for educating himself and his siblings.


Grant attended public schools in his home town, and graduated from Scribner High School in 1909, and later entered Indiana University. While there, he majored in chemistry, graduating with the A.B. degree in 1915. In 1920, he received the D.D.S. degree from Indiana Dental School, then a part of Indiana University; he practiced dentistry in Indianapolis for over 50 years.

Edward Giles Irvin


Founder Edward Giles Irvin, a civic and religious leader, journalist and entrepreneur, was born August 13, 1893, in Spencer, IN and was the seventh of nine children of an African Methodist Episcopal minister. Following graduation from Kokomo Indiana High School in 1910, he enrolled at Indiana University the same year. While attending Indiana University, at only 17 years of age, Irvin was the youngest one of ten Black students who assisted to found Kappa Alpha Psi® Fraternity, Inc., in which Irvin served on the fraternity’s Incorporation Committee.


Irvin and the other Founders endured and persevered acts of racial hatred and hostility as students, then organized this fraternity dedicated to the principles of achievement and to alleviate the isolation and raise the sights of Black undergraduates. Irvin left the University following the spring term of 1911.

John Milton Lee


Founder John Milton Lee, a scholar, loyal and tireless worker for the growth of the Fraternity and because of his idealist character was commonly referred to as ‘a dreamer’, was born in Danville, Indiana on September 7, 1890 and was the third of four children.


He attended public schools in Danville and enrolled at Indiana University in 1910. He completed three years of pre-medical work before leaving the university. In 1914, he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania but withdrew for health reasons. In 1915, he became a student at Temple University but was compelled to leave due to a death in the family.

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