The members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. elected Reuben Shelton III to be the fraternity’s 34th Grand Polemarch during the fraternity’s 84th Grand Chapter Meeting and Conclave here this week.
Shelton, the former senior Vice Polemarch for the last four years, ran unopposed. He was elected on Friday and will begin his two-year term after he is sworn in. He replaces Thomas Battles Jr.
Shelton’s election “was a positive,” said Richard L. Snow, the fraternity’s former executive director and a Philadelphia resident.
“He brings a business acumen that we have watched for years,” Snow said. “He is the right person at this time to continue to build on what Kappa Alpha Psi has been building more than a century. He’s always been an asset to the organization.”
Philadelphia City Councilman and Kappa member Derek Green said Shelton is a “great choice.”
“He’s a great communicator and has a great legal mind,” Green said. “He’s good for us.”
Shelton, 64, was initiated into the 108-year-old fraternity at the University of Kansas in 1974. He has previously served as polemarch in St. Louis and as polemarch over a region of seven Midwestern states.
A part of the fraternity’s leadership for the last two decades, Shelton said being elected grand polemarch is the greatest honor he has received from the organization.
“This means everything to me — it’s something I never dreamed about, thought about or ever thought would be a part of my career path,” Shelton said. “But you never know what doors are going to open up for you in the fraternity if you work hard and commit yourself to it.”
A St. Louis native, Shelton recently retired as lead counsel for litigation with the Monsanto law firm in St. Louis. At Monsanto, Shelton handled antitrust-intellectual property litigation, international business litigation, and global policy matters. He also served as General Counsel of the Monsanto Citizenship fund, the company’s political action committee.
He has also served as president of the Missouri Bar Association. He led that organization during the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of unarmed Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson on August 14, 2014.
“I learned so much from that experience working for healing on both sides, legally and in the community,” Shelton said. “The fraternity does work in social justice and has done so for years. I want to continue that work.”
Shelton said he plans to continue to guide the fraternity’s community outreach efforts already in place. Areas of emphasis he spoke of on Friday include helping families displaced by natural disasters, bringing more attention to mental illness, focusing on social justice issues and the continued development of young men both in the fraternity and non-members.
The fraternity’s conclave runs through Sunday. About 3,500 members registered to attend the weeklong event and about 7,000 non-registered members attended, Snow said.