Distinguished Service Chapter

The Origin and Growth of the Distinguished Service Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc

The 1929 Conclave of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. created the Distinguished Service Chapter (DSC). This special chapter was established to provide the highest level of recognition the Fraternity can bestow upon a Brother who has made outstanding contributions and given extraordinary service to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, the community, the state, and nation. Also, candidates must have made remarkable contributions to humanity, as well as to the Fraternity.

A special Distinguished Service ‘Key’ that looked much like the Phi Beta Kappa Key, was authorized at the 1929 Conclave. Honorable Brother Jesse W. Lewis, Field Secretary and Secretary-Treasurer was selected as the first member of the DSC and given the DSC Key for his work in the Fraternity and community. At the 1930 New York Conclave, the Conclave established more precisely the rules whereby members could qualify for the DSC. The candidate must make ‘outstanding contributions’ to the work and the general welfare of the Fraternity. Honorable Brothers Dr. Alain L. Locke, Ivorite L. Scruggs, Cornelius V. Troup, Robert R. Moton, Augustin A. Arestin, and Arthur W. Mitchell were selected at the 1930 New York Conclave.

Some other Brothers inducted into the DSC include:

  • Honorable Founder Abram Langston Taylor
  • Honorable Founder Dr. Leonard Francis Morse
  • Honorable Founder Charles Ignatius Brown
  • C.L. Roberts, former Vice-President of the Fraternity
  • Dr. George Washington Carver
  • John Ashurst, Phi Beta Kappa Scholar from New York City College
  • R.A. Billing
  • James Weldon Johnson

Today, a Brother must be recommended by his local chapter, the state, and region before his name and documentation can be recommended to the DSC Committee for consideration. Each of the seven regions can recommend no more than three applicants to the committee. The DSC Committee can recommend no more than seven brothers for induction at a Conclave, however, the Conclave Delegates in session has the final approval as to which Brothers are inducted into the DSC.

Being inducted into the Distinguished Service Chapter (DSC) is truly a high honor in Sigma and Society!

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