A Leader, A Legacy
How these graduates honored their mentor, a man who gave the best of himself to others and who inspired them to do the same.
Joseph F. Bell, Jr. ’72; David L. Flamer ’72, M’86; Michael D. Gilmore, Esq. ’71; Dr. John O. Simpson ’70, M’75; and Dennis W. White ’72 share more than an alma mater — they are five of the seven founding members of Zeta Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first Black fraternity in the United States (Cornell University, 1906) and the first such on West Chester University’s campus (1969).
With 11 academic degrees among them and successful careers in education, consulting, government service, and law, they are also co-creators of the Dr. Philip P. Hoggard Memorial Scholarship.
Established in 2019 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Chapter’s founding on December 19, 1969, the endowed scholarship is named in honor of their mentor, Dr. Philip P. Hoggard (1921-1998). An Alpha and a professor in the University’s Education department for 35 years, Dr. Hoggard was the Chapter’s first faculty advisor and was instrumental in its formation; the scholarship also recognizes the dedicated service of charter members James P. Watkins ’73 (1949-2012) and Thomas C. Williams ’72 (1949-2010).
“We wanted to do something meaningful that would last, and a legacy scholarship seemed like a good vehicle,” Michael said in a recent interview of the four charterers.
David L. Flamer '72, M'86
Michael D. Gilmore, Esq. '71
Dennis W. White '72
Dr. John O. Simpson '70, '75
Co-Creators, Dr. Philip P. Hoggard Memorial Scholarship
"We wanted to do something meaningful that would last, and a legacy scholarship seemed like a good vehicle."
“Alpha Phi Alpha is about doing not only for self, but for others; he saw that ability in all of us.”
At the time of the Chapter’s founding, the climate of both the University and the town of West Chester reflected the same turbulence present across the nation; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April of the previous year. On a predominantly white campus, Dr. Hoggard saw the need for Black men to come together.
“He changed my life — and my perspective of WCU,” said Dennis. “Alpha Phi Alpha is about doing not only for self, but for others; he saw that ability in all of us.”
Dr. Hoggard espoused Alpha Phi Alpha’s principles of education and service to others in a way that became influential to all of them. Selecting the West Chester
University Foundation to manage the scholarship gave the men an opportunity to transform their gratitude into something greater.
They hope the $1,000 scholarship, awarded annually beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, will elicit support for young men navigating college life at the University who are either members of, or have an interest in joining, the fraternity. “It has paid tremendous dividends in my life to be a member of this organization. I’m so grateful to have had the experience at the university level,” John pointed out.
“Honoring Dr. Hoggard honors the legacy of our experience,” David said. “With this scholarship, we can give to others the kind of encouragement we received, and renew the thoughts and beliefs given to us.”
“This is our story, but it’s not the end.”