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A Doctor in the (Fraternity) House

Growing up in South Carolina, Arthur E. Doctor Jr. had several positive role models, many who happened to be members of fraternities.

“My stepfather is a charter member, or chapter founder, of the Alpha Phi Alpha chapter at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina,” said Doctor, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Mississippi. “When I got to Clemson University, the question was when, not if, I was going to join a fraternity.”

Arthur E. Doctor Jr.
Doctor was hired at UM in June 2018 after spending five years at Emory University, first as assistant director and then three years as associate director in the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life. The office supports the 31 chapters and more than 6,000 fraternity and sorority members at the university.

“As the director, I am responsible for the providing the vision, leadership and direction for the office and the entire fraternity and sorority community while supporting over five full-time staff members, three graduate assistants and six student workers,” Doctor said. “Ultimately, I see my role as the chief advocate for fraternities and sororities here at the University of Mississippi.”

Doctor’s service at UM was recognized recently when he was presented the Advisor Award of Distinction from the North American Interfraternity Conference. The honor was first awarded in 2017 and recognizes exceptional commitment to advising a fraternity chapter, Interfraternity Council or fraternity/sorority community, the organization’s website states.

Each recipient demonstrates dedication to guiding and mentoring the students with whom they work, and exemplifies the highest standards of character, leadership and interfraternalism, both personally and professionally.

“I was and continue to be at a loss for words because I don’t do my job for accolades or acknowledgement,” Doctor said. “I am so blessed to work with phenomenal students, committed advisers and a selfless staff who truly make this the premier fraternity and sorority community in the country.”

Doctor has established himself as a respected, well-connected campus leader who forges successful partnerships while being mindful of the symbiotic nature of these relationships, said Brent Marsh, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.

“As I meet people both on- and off-campus and they learn that fraternity and sorority life is in my portfolio at UM, their next comment is nearly always about what a great job Dr. Arthur Doctor is doing to lead the community,” Marsh said. “Truly, he has done a remarkable job of establishing positive, productive relationships with student leaders and other stakeholders connecting to our chapters and councils.”

Doctor’s example also has been noticed and emulated by many Ole Miss students.

“I met (Doctor) at a pre-formal recruitment education event and immediately understood why he was chosen to lead our FSL community, given his vibrant energy and ability to relate with people of various backgrounds,” said Cole Barnhill, of Union, Kentucky, a member of Sigma Nu and president of the Interfraternity Council.

“Dr. Doctor, or ‘Doc’ as most students call him, is a great leader. I appreciate that he is always ready to challenge my views as IFC president and offers guidance while still ensuring that the council’s vision and actions are student-led via the IFC Executive Board.”

Candace Bolden, a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority and National Pan-Hellenic Council president, described Doctor’s leadership as “transformational.”

“Transformational leadership is a theory of leadership where a leader works with teams to identify needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group,” she said. “Dr. Doctor does just that as he has a heart for students, especially to develop leadership skills.

“His love for fraternity and sorority life helps its young leaders to move their visions to plans.”

Beginning as an undergraduate student in his fraternity, Doctor took advantage of leadership opportunities on campus and within the larger fraternity. He served as president of Clemson’s National Pan-Hellenic Council and was assistant district director of South Carolina for his fraternity, which allowed him to serve on the board of directors for the Southern region of Alpha Phi Alpha.

Doctor earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Clemson University, master’s in higher education administration from Florida State University and doctorate in student affairs leadership from the University of Georgia. He continues to serve his fraternity at the district and national level.

Additionally, he is a member of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

“Those experiences and my ability to see the impact of fraternity and sorority life on students steered me into pursuing a career in student affairs,” Doctor said. “The reason I continue my work with fraternities and sororities as a professional is because of my genuine belief that the organizations prepare students for the real world in ways no other experience can replicate.

“Students are exposed to individuals from different backgrounds, have opportunities to be developed personally and professionally, and learn the value of giving back to the communities through community service and philanthropy.”

For more information about the NIC, visit https://nicfraternity.org/.

By Edwin B. Smith

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