Monday, July 21, 2014

Gamma Pi History Maker: Brother Kenneth Rodgers Elected Grand Keeper of Records & Seal

Bro. Kenneth E. Rodgers
On the evening of Tuesday, July 15, Brothers from around the entire Omega Psi Phi “Que Country” had gathered at the main Ballroom inside the Philadelphia Convention Center for the much-anticipated formal Founder’s Banquet. It was the last night of the 79th Grand Conclave. Everybody was dressed “to the nine’s.” Many Omega men exchanged Omega-style hugs and handshakes with long-lost Line brothers, former chapter Brothers and with Omega men they had just met at the conference. Most of the 1,500 or so Brothers and guests were simply enjoying a light meal just before the start of the formal program.

Gamma Pi’s tables were collected in a large group along the left side of     the stage. Suddenly, the sound of forks and plates making contact slowed significantly. Mouths stopped chewing and all eyes turned up award as Brother Edward High II swooped in on each Gamma Pi table and whispered to the anxious Brothers: “Kenny won!” brothers worked hard to contain themselves and the word was to keep quiet until the official announcement during the program.

Later, at 9:08 p.m., Basileus Brother Brian K. Long sent this e-mail out throughout the chapter’s communication channel: Where ever you are, thank the Lord for answering prayers. Brother Kenney Rodgers has been ELECTED by the Omega brotherhood to the office of Grand Keeper of Records and Seal.
Conclave Display

What Brother High said to Brothers in the room and the message Brother Basileus sent out to the chapter back at home was the Omega equivalent to “the shout heard round the world.” Yes, it was true – this was not a prank. Brother Kenneth E. Rodgers indeed had been elected as the next Grand Keeper of Records and Seal for the entire Fraternity. A Gamma Pi man was now standing in the gap among the several going forward from the Philadelphia to lead the Fraternity. This date, this moment was forever etched in Gamma Pi history as a “purple”-letter day.

Brother Rodgers was elected over incumbent Brother Curtis Baylor and Brother Edward Morant. He won the election in the early evening run-off with Brother Baylor that commenced right before the banquet began. The Founders’ Banquet ended with the new Omega leadership team receiving the official oath of office as newly installed.

For Brother Rodgers and Gamma Pi, the election was historic. Already the first member of the chapter to serve at the District Representative position, as the 32nd Second District Representative, he now is also the first to serve in an international office. His election as Grand Keeper of Records and Seal will forever mark the beginning of Gamma Pi’s “second 40” years after celebrating its 40-year anniversary throughout 2013.

With "the guru" Bro. Roland Byrd
Brother Rodgers’ election also culminated weeks of extensive and energetic campaigning that began more than a year ago.  Weekly strategy meetings, calls, preparing and printing materials campaign materials and traveling and visiting with chapters around the country paid off for Brother Rodgers, known affectionately in Gamma Pi as “Swamp Dog.” Actually, the journey to Grand Office was a long time coming, first talked about some 10 years ago as Gamma Pi decided to become more active within the Second District by contributing service through seeking out official office positions and boosting chapter attendance at District meetings.

Bro. Rodgers with Gamma Pi members at Conclave
Gamma Pi’s Brother Roland Byrd was a key player at the very beginning of these developments and now a part-time retired resident of Florida, he was able to be at the Conclave in person and witness Brother Rodgers’ election.

In addition to Brother Rodgers, other Brothers elected to international office included. Antonio Knox (Grand Basileus); Dr. David Marion (1st Vice Grand Basileus); W. Kelly Shannon (Keeper of Finance); and Michael Lyles, Esq. (Grand Counselor).Brother Lyles is a member of Lambda Gamma Gamma chapter and is also  resident of Bowie, where brother Rodgers also resides..

Brother Rodgers thanks his campaign team and all the Brothers of Gamma Pi and the Second District for all their support and confidence in him in ensuring his important election to International office.

Bros Rodgers, Milton Harrison (2nd District Representative)
and Michael Lyles (newly elected Grand Counselor)

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