(Mark Tillman, DU class of 1988, on the left)
I was pleased to learn this weekend that Mark Tillman was elected as the 34th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Bro. Tillman is a 1988 graduate of Dillard University, and a 1985 initiate of the Beta Phi chapter here at Dillard. We're definitely contemporaries, as I am a 1989 graduate of the University of Georgia and a 1986 initiate of the Zeta Pi chapter at UGA.
I first met Bro. Tillman in February of 2009 when I was the guest speaker of the Eta Beta Lambda chapter in Wichita, Kansas for their Black history fundraiser. We had started recruiting students from that area when I was at Philander Smith College. Bro. Tillman served as the Midwestern Region Vice President of the fraternity.
So this marks a high point for Dillard with Bro. Tillman as the incoming president of Alpha Phi Alpha, AND Cynthia Butler McIntyre at the current president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ms. McIntyre in a 1976 graduate of Dillard. I also learned over the weekend that Dr. Mattelia Grays was 18th Grand Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. from 1970 to 1974. I learned that when she was elected in 1968, she was the youngest ever to be chosen.
This got me to thinking and I found some other Greek leaders with Dillard ties. Dr. Albert W. Dent, the 3rd president of Dillard University, served as the 13th Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. from 1937 to 1940. He became president of Dillard University in 1941, a role he held until 1969. Dent would have been 32 when he was Omega president, and Grays would have been 40 when she started.
Finally, Dr. Charles Teamer, past vice president for fiscal affairs at Dillard University, served as the 27th general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Teamer began working at Dillard in 1965 when Dent was president. He was the president when Bro. Tillman was in college (and me too).
Talk about coming full circle.