Bearcat History and Tradition

Early Years.
Civil Rights Past.
Recent Years.

Greek Life. As with many other HBCUs across the country Black Greek letter organizations are woven int the fabric of Rust College. Founded by students and faculty just one to two generations removed from slavery, the organizations affectionately known as theDivine Nine, that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council and serve as cultural catalyststhrough their service and pride. These organizations represent a piece of Black history in America that demonstrates the bold vision with which the community and campuses of Historical Black Colleges and Universities continue to foster, uplift, and implement Black excellence. Rust College recognizes that Greek letter organizations are a vital component of campus culture, the catalyst of life-long friendships, dynamic networks, and development of future leaderships providing students with academic support, avenues to active community service as well as personal growth and development. Rust College has authorized chapters of the following Greek letter organizations:
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, chartered on
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, chartered on May 4, 1974
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, chartered on
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, chartered on April 1, 1971
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, chartered on ??? 1971
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, chartered on
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, chartered on May 25, 1965
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, chartered on

Notable Alumni. World Renowned A’Cappella Choir. The College Choir, known as the Rust College World Renowned A’Cappella Choir, had its beginning in the early 1930’s under the directorship of Miss Natalie Doxey, a graduate of Rust College, who served as a music teacher and choir director until 1969. Members are accepted by audition only. The Chamber Singers are chosen from the World Renowned A’Cappella Choir. It earned the name World Renowned after touring five countries in Europe, South Africa, and performing at Notre Dame in Paris, France. Some of their noteworthy performances and awards include performances at the 1982 and 1983 World’s Fair.

The World Renowned A’Cappella Choir performs major works, anthems, spirituals, etc., while the Chamber Singers perform a number of works spanning a period from Madrigals to Vocal Jazz. The Choir has its annual spring tour following commencement

1984 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball National Champs.

The Rust College Lady Bearcats led by coach Dr. A.J. Stovall and star guard Nancy Binion Relliford. won the school’s first national championship over Elizabethtown College. The roster included Brenda Christian-Lawrence, Diane Ayers, Louise Sanders Tate, Mittie Heidelburg, Angela Agnew-Brazell, Barbara Knox-Seymour, Diane Buchanan… The Lady Bearcats made another run at a championship in 1986 making the Final Four before falling short.

Other notable alumni include:
Larry Anderson, basketball coach for MIT[13]
Lucie Campbell (1885–1963), composer, hymnwriter
Alvin Childress (1907–1986), actor
Ruby Elzy (1908–1943), operatic soprano
Perry Wilbon Howard (1877–1961), assistant U.S. attorney general, Mississippi
Republican chairman
Leslie B. McLemore (born 1940), civil rights activist, interim mayor of Jackson, MS
Clinton LeSueur (born 1969), journalist, congressional candidate
Godwin Maduka MD and founder of Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Center
Alexander Preston Shaw (1879–1966), Methodist bishop
Anita Ward (born 1957), disco singer, “Ring My Bell”
Ida B. Wells (1862–1931), newspaper editor, activist, cofounder of the NAACP
Willie Mitchell (1928–2010), record executive, musician, producer
Susie Revels Cayton (1870-1943), activist, journalist, editor, writer

Former RCIAA Presidents
Mr. Jasper “J. D.” Williams*
Dr. Merlin D. Conoway
Dr. Leslie Burl McLemore
Mr. William D. Scott, III
Mr. James Bell
Mr. Alonzo “A. J.” Nero*
Dr. Leroy Frazier
Mrs. Pearlene Carter
Mr. Charles Hill
Mrs. Oreler D. B. Murry
Rev. Frederick H. Brown
Mr. Larry Anderson
Ms. Barbara Belfoure
The list is not all inclusive and begins in the 1960s