Arts Fraternity Welcomes First Honorary Members in Seven Years
Gamma Xi Phi, the fraternity for artists and creators, has initiated two honorary members. They are the first to receive such honors since 2015.
The initiates, music educator Tamika Walker Kelly and novelist Frederick Smith, were welcomed in an intimate ceremony attended by members of Gamma Xi Phi’s National Board of Trustees and members from the New York and District of Columbia professional chapters, as well as the South Atlantic Region at-large chapter.
Tamika Walker Kelly grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is a product of the Cumberland County School System. After graduating from E.E. Smith High School, she attended East Carolina University, majoring in Music Education. Graduating from ECU in 2007, Tamika returned to Cumberland County. She taught at Morganton Road Elementary for 13 years as the K-5th Elementary Music Specialist. As a teacher-leader, she was the 2015-2016 Westover District Teacher of the Year. As an educator, Tamika was recognized with the Fayetteville Observer’s 40 Under 40 Award in 2018.
Tamika currently serves as President of the North Carolina Association of Educators, the state’s largest professional organization for public school employees.
“I am truly honored to be initiated into Gamma Xi Phi,” said Mrs. Kelly. “As an artist and educator, to be in community with other artists is a positive addition to my professional and personal growth.”
Dr. Frederick Smith is the author of five novels: Down For Whatever, Right Side of the Wrong Bed, Play it Forward, In Case You Forgot, and Busy Ain’t the Half of It. All are contemporary novels set in the city of Los Angeles. Originally from Detroit, Frederick Smith is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Loyola University Chicago, and Loyola Marymount University. He is also a diversity, equity, and inclusion professional within the field of higher education. He lives in San Francisco.
“It is an honor to be connected with a community of artists dedicated to service, social justice, and education,” Dr. Smith said.
Gamma Xi Phi is an anti-racist, non-hazing, all-gender professional fraternity for artists and creators established in 2010 by undergraduate students attending Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey. Organized on the principles of Philanthropy, Sodality, and Elevation, Gamma Xi Phi seeks to create a world in which artists are valued as thoughtful and justice-oriented leaders in their communities and in their careers. The National President is Rashid Darden, a novelist based in Conway, North Carolina.