Growing up in St. Louis in the 1940s and ’50s, Lake Stith paid attention to the city’s leading African American men. Kappa Alpha Psi, a historically black Greek-letter fraternity, had an alumni chapter in town. “They were some of the prominent black men in St. Louis,” Stith remembers. “Men of achievement.”
When Stith enrolled at Mizzou in 1958, campus had no Kappa Alpha Psi chapter. So, in March 1961, he joined with others to charter the Delta Omega chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi. They prized brotherhood and academic excellence.
“My father told me that if I wanted to succeed, I had to work twice as hard as everyone else.”
And work he did, graduating in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, then practicing as an electrical engineer at McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis. In 1966, he signed up for officer training school in the Air Force and stayed 26 years, rising to the rank of colonel.
Looking back, Stith says, his fraternity days gave him all he could have hoped for. “I still remember the Homecomings and the brotherhood I shared with the young men at that time,” he says. “I feel blessed I was able to become a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and become a man of achievement.”