African-American enrollment increased to nearly 800 students during this decade. Many students were recruited from the St. Louis area. While this enrollment was the largest to date, a tension between African-American rural and urban cultures began to emerge. This unexpected adjustment did not stop the students from socializing together, expanding organizations, and succeeding academically.
Alpha Kappa Alpha (1981) and Delta Sigma Theta (1983) sororities came into existence in the 1980s. Phi Beta Sigma (1986) fraternity was a very active group on campus. Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and Omega Psi Phi interest group began. Greek step-shows became a homecoming tradition.
The St. James Choir later known as the Black Fellowship Mass Gospel Choir was popular in the Cape Girardeau and University communities. Umoja, an organization to promote Black Unity, strengthened the African-American student community.
The students of the eighties had many talents. The men and women’s basketball and track teams were highly successful due to significant contributions from African-American student athletes; Pat colon, Otto Porter, Jewel Crawford, and Terry Mead to name a few. The men’s basketball team won the MIAA championship and were nationally ranked. Cedric Kyle, a.k.a. “Cedric the Entertainer” and Joe Torrie, attended Southeast during this decade. ABC brought celebrities such as Alex Haley, Julian Bond, Dick Gregory and Shirley Chisholm to the Southeast campus to help commemorate Black History month. The first campus-wide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast was held in 1984.
Samuel Hylton in 1987 became the first African-American appointed to the Southeast Board of Regents.
Academic Hall 010-011