Official Remarks of
23rd International Grand Polaris Sean D. Housen, Sr.
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
Inner Harbor Hilton Hotel
January 29, 2022
Good evening to our Board of Directors, former Grand Polari, Most Honorable Founder Lonnie Spruill and welcome to our guests, friends, and brothers of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. I am humbled and deeply honored to accept the responsibility of serving as the 23rd International Grand Polaris of this great Brotherhood.
If you had told me when I started my journey thirty-one years ago that one day I would have the honor of leading this fraternity, I would not have believed you. Yet here I stand today. There are few words that can describe my appreciation and thanks to the many Brothers who have expressed confidence in me. I would also like to thank my predecessor, 22nd International Grand Polaris Andre Manson, under who I served as the International Grand Vice Polaris, and my Brother, our new 23rd International Grand Vice Polaris Myron Covington.
Tonight, I can say with confidence and truth, that Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. is in a good place but we are headed to greater heights. Our Founders laid the foundation for this fraternity to take a different path to Brotherhood. This organization is the product of a period of tremendous challenge and change in America – the civil rights movement – and we are rooted 2 in reimagining the status quo. We are not content with what the world is and are always seeking what it can be – how we can make it better. That is who we are. We are built for change.
When I launched my candidacy for this position it was clear to me that the only appropriate theme is One Iota. This is not a branding exercise; it is a statement of culture and values. What makes Iota unique is that we don’t suppress individualism but accept the unique qualities of our Brothers and use them to collectively advance our purpose. We love the flavor of our Brothers in our different regions, from the Far West and the OVR to the East and Atlantic Coast and southern region. It is the energy and commitment of our Brothers that makes One Iota a way of life and not just some rhetorical exercise.
I want to be clear that Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., heading towards our 60th anniversary in 2023, is looking to the future. We want undergraduate young men on college campuses to know that this Brotherhood awaits them if they are up to the challenge. We want college graduates to know that Iota offers them a professional refuge and network that will support their aspirations if they are committed to our high ideals. Look around the room, our Brothers in attendance tonight represent the best of what our community has to offer. The Men of Brown and Gold are leaders in all facets of life.
We are poised to do great things in this Brotherhood. Last Saturday we had an exciting call to focus on our work during the first 100 days of my administration. The energy and excitement on that call are contagious and evidence of the commitment throughout this fraternity to continue to work hard, to continue to build. Our best days are ahead and tonight is an acknowledgment of the demanding work that preceded us, and the expectation of excellence that now confronts us. It is a daunting task but one that I and my team are prepared to take on. If we step out on faith and put our trust in each other, we will fulfill the vision that 12 men had on September 19, 1963, on the steps of Hurt Gymnasium on the campus of Morgan State College.
I cannot close without recognizing our other national officers, again International Grand Vice Polaris Myron J. Covington, International Grand Treasurer Anthony J. Harden, and International Grand Secretary Craig I. Spencer. I am honored to serve in leadership with these outstanding Iotas.
I want to close by again recognizing our Most Honorable Founder Lonnie Spruill, a man of incredible vision and spirit, and inspiration to Iotas everywhere. Thank you Founder Spruill for your guidance and mentorship, and for setting the standard for this fraternity. I also want to recognize our three Baltimore area graduate chapters – Alpha Omega, Gamma Omicron Omega, and Psi Omega – and any Baltimore undergraduate Brothers here tonight. Last but not least, I want to thank my ride-or-die, Danielle Thomas, a proud Soror of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., who has been walking with me every step of this journey.
Guests and Brothers, thank you, and let’s have a wonderful time this evening. I look forward to greeting each of you.
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., one of America’s ‘Divine 9’ National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities was established on September 19, 1963, on the campus of one of the nation’s great historically Black Colleges and Universities, Morgan State University (nee College) in Baltimore, Maryland.