Grand Boulé of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, a.k.a. the Boulé, is the first and oldest African American Greek-letter fraternal organization. It was founded in 1904, at a time when African American professionals were excluded from participating in the mainline professional, cultural and social associations. Sigma Pi Phi has approximately 5,000 members in 134 member boulés (externally known as chapters) throughout the United States, London England, and Nassau, The Bahamas. The members of Sigma Pi Phi are geographically dispersed domestically and abroad and represent the most accomplished pool of African American talent in the world. Their professional backgrounds include C-Suite leaders of public companies, private firms, and global leaders in fields of business, technology, medicine, law, politics, investment banking, real estate, accounting, private equity, academia, and philanthropy.
Sigma Pi Phi’s primary focus is on modeling leadership, education and civic responsibility in support of these endeavors and by mentoring young men and women, thereby advancing the African American community in all facets of equality, education, wealth creation, and devotion to investing in the next generation of leaders.
Notable members past and present include:
- John Hope Franklin – Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, more than 100 honorary doctorate degrees, longest tenured president of Phi Beta Kappa
- Charles Drew – 1981 US Postal Service stamp honoree whose work led to the establishment of the American Red Cross Blood Bank
- Martin Luther King Jr
- John H. Johnson – Publisher, Johnson Publishing Company (Jet and Ebony magazines)
- Earl Graves – Publisher (Black Enterprise magazine)
- Arthur Ashe – Tennis great
- Benjamin Mays – legendary President of Morehouse
- Maynard Jackson – first Black Mayor of Atlanta
- Jeh Johnson – former Head of Homeland Security
- Marc Morial – former mayor of New Orleans and current head of National Urban League
- Vernon Jordan Jr.
- Ron Brown – legendary businessman and former Sec. of Commerce
- Ralph Bunche – 1950 Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
- Ambassador Andrew Young – Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Springarn Medal, Congressman, France’s Legion d’honneur
- Kenneth Chenault – Chairman and CEO of American Express
- Charles Bolden, Jr. – Chief Administrator, NASA
- Eric Holder – former (and first black) U.S. Attorney General
- Orlando Ashford, CEO of Holland America and Chairman of the Board, Executive Leadership Council
- Anthony Foxx – former Secretary of Transportation
- Bernard Tyson – Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente
Among the many accomplished women associated with Sigma Pi Phi by marriage to members include:
- Susan Taylor – Editor-In-Chief, Essence Magazine
- Coretta Scott King – Civil Rights Icon
- Linda Johnson Rice – Johnson Publishing Co, CEO, Ebony
- Ernesta Procope – “First lady of Wall Street,” president of The E.G. Bowman Co.
- Aaronetta Pierce – Texas Women’s Hall of Fame
- Roberta Jenkins – Philanthropist, Director-The MIND Institute, Director-The CSULB 49er Foundation, Founding Board Director-Long Beach Symphony
- Ursula M. Burns – Chairwoman of VEON, former Chairwoman and CEO of Xerox. The first African American female CEO to head a Fortune 500 company
More details on the history of Sigma Pi Phi can be found here