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Phi Beta Sigma honors C.E. Oatis Jr. for years of service

By Staff
AWARD RECIPIENT C.E. Oatis Jr. of Meridian, left, is congratulated by Arthur R. Thomas, national president of Phi Beta Sigma, after Oatis received the Distinguished Service Chapter Award. SUBMITTED PHOTO
special to The Star
Aug. 1, 2003
C.E. Oatis Jr. of Meridian recently received the Distinguished Service Chapter Award at the Phi Beta Sigma National Conclave in Memphis, Tenn.
The award is presented to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity brothers who have made significant contributions to Phi Beta Sigma Inc. at the local, state, regional and national levels and, most importantly, have brought honor to the fraternity through service to their community, state and nation.
Oatis was first nominated by his local chapter, then advanced to the state and national levels.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is an international organization of college and professional men. It was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1914.
It is one of the largest predominately African American Greek-lettered organizations, with more than 150,000 members and 650 chapters in the United States, Europe and Africa.
The fraternity's programs include: Sigma Beta Clubs, the youth auxiliary for young men 8-18; Sigmas Against Teenage Pregnancy Plus; and Sigmas Waging War Against Cancer.
This year, the convention convened in Memphis under the leadership of Arthur R. Thomas, Esq., 31st national president.
The convention theme was "Building Bridges." Phi Beta Sigma men deliberated July 8-13 on societal issues that affect Africa American men. They also celebrated the achievements and accomplishments of the organizations, its cooperate partners and notable members.
Oatis was initiated into Alpha Beta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity at Jackson State College, now Jackson State University, in 1946 and has remained an active financial member since that date.
When he graduated from Jackson State, he transferred to Mu Sigma Chapter in Jackson.
In 1948, he accepted a teaching position with the Meridian Public School District. Since there was no chapter in Meridian, Oatis started one. The Gamma Epsilon Sigma Chapter came to fruition in November 1951 and Oatis was elected first president.
Oatis is well-known as a distinguished educator. He was director of the award-winning Harris High School band and principal of Kate Griffin Junior High, which was named a School of Excellence the year after his retirement.
For more than 30 years, he has served as president of the Council of Organizations Inc., which has hosted the National Council of Meridianites Inc. Convention and Picnic every five years here in Meridian.