Alvin Marley / Damon Lee, Jr. Scholarship Fund
The Marley/Lee scholarship is reserved for active members in good standing with the Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The scholarship is awarded on the basis of academic achievement. Candidates for the scholarship must be a full-time degree-seeking student and must also have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
The scholarship recognition awards for members of Beta Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. have been named in honor of Beta Omicron alumni whose leadership in scholarship and generosity all brothers should emulate.
Brother Damon Lee, Jr.
When the Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., dedicated its two-gate memorial at Tennessee State University [TSU] last November, Dr. Damon Lee, Jr. was the only living brother of the seven men who founded the chapter in 1934. It was heartwarming that he contributed at the highest level to erect the chapter’s 75th anniversary memorial/monument. His fraternal gift is an example of Dr. Lee’s philanthropic efforts for his alma mater. In 1999, he presented TSU’s “President Hefner with a $200,000 check—then the largest-ever, one-time donation by a University alumnus. Five years later, he gave the university an additional $50,000. These donations are the foundation of “The Damon and Rachel Lee Endowment Scholarship Fund.”
While a student at Tennessee A&I State College, Damon Lee, Jr. met Rachel Carter, an Alpha Kappa Alpha coed from Johnson City, Tennessee. She became his college sweetheart and later his wife. After graduating in 1935, Lee returned to his native home, Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife and worked in his family’s coal delivery service and in the family’s grocery store.
In 1946, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he studied chiropractic medicine and became a Doctor of Chiropractic. Lee also continued as an entrepreneur with real estate investments, as well as investments in securities. Now, at the venerable age of 96, Dr. Damon Lee, Jr. has retired. For a number of years he served as a member of the board of directors of the TSU Foundation. On his last visit to his beloved campus, he said proudly, “TSU is going to be a university of the future – a university with vision.”
Brother Alvin W. Marley
When Tennessee State University set aside land on its campus on which Greek-letter fraternities and sororities could erect memorials for their chapters, the brothers of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., set about planning, organizing and raising funds to erect its “Two Gates for Transformation: A Beta Omicron Memorial.” Alvin W. Marley contributed more money to this project than any other Beta Omicron Member. He was one of two members who gave at the Jewel level—$2999 plus—and his plus was considetablyhigher than the entry level for Jewel status. The monument was dedicated November, 2009.
Alvin Marley, 62, is the managing director and head of small-cap investments for Lombardi, Capital Partners LLC, in Chicago. Assets under his firm’s management in 2009 were $350 million, according to a March 2009 article in Crain’s. Currently, African Americans are 12 percent of the company’s headcount and have, according to Marley, four equity owners: himself, two Hispanics, and one Caucasian. “We are 75 percent minority owned,” Marley said.
A native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Alvin Marley was drawn to Tennessee State University (TSU) by his brother’s attendance there. Marley joined Beta Omicron in 1965 and was president of the chapter his junior year, 1966-1967. At TSU he joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROIC). Upon graduating from the university in 1968 with a degree in mathematics, Marley entered the Air Force and attained the rank of captain. While in the Air Force [1968-1971] he began his ascendancy, not into the wild blue yonder, but in high finance. In service he took non-credit courses on the stock market at Okaloosa-Walton Junior College that started him to reading Barons, the Wall Street Journal and other financial publications. At the time, Okaloosa-Walton Junior College encouraged African-American men to attend graduate schools at one of its universities participating in a consortium in which the junior college was involved. Marley applied to the business school at Indiana University at Bloomington, where he received his MBA degree in 1973. That same year he began his career as an investment equity analyst with the First National bank of Chicago. He has been in that business for 37 years ending with co-ownership in his own firm.
When asked about his contribution to the Beta Omicron Memorial, Marley says, “Beta Omicron was important to me in my personal development. I learned from a mature group of men. Scholarships are a vital part of the memorial and that’s a worthy cause. To be frank, I also had the money to contribute.”
Alvin Marley is an exemplar of one of the maxims on the memorial to which he contributed: “It is our obligation to add goodness to the world. Those who harvest must also plant. It is an eternal cycle: as we gain from others, we must plant anew so that others may gain from us.”
Hershel J. Honeywood King / Kirby Pugh Scholarship Fund
The King/Pugh scholarship is reserved for active members in good standing with the Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The scholarship is awarded on the basis of financial need. Candidates for the scholarship must be a full-time degree-seeking student and must also have a minimum GPA of 2.8.
In the late 1990’s two members of Alpha Phi Alpha, Beta Omicron Chapter were tragically killed in two separate isolated incidents. Hershel J. King was murdered April 29, 1998 by random gunshots at a college birthday party in Nashville, TN. Kirby Pugh was killed in an automobile accident. Both members of Alpha Phi Alpha meant a great deal to their families, friends, classmates, professors, the university community, Beta Omicron Chapter, and Alpha Phi Alpha as a whole. After much thought and discussion, the alumni brothers felt a need to do more to honor these brothers indefinitely in a broader sense and reflect upon their contributions to the fraternity and their commitment and contributions to Alpha Phi Alpha and the Tennessee State University Community at-large. This scholarship fund seeks to memorialize the legacy of Hershel King and Kirby Pugh in a sustained and meaningful manner.