Knight Commanders

John William Nowell

25th Knight Commander

Tau–Wake Forest University, 1919

Acknowledged as one of the Order’s great leaders, “Jack” Nowell was born in Wake Forest , North Carolina , on August 26, 1919. Initiated by Tau Chapter in 1937, he was appointed as the third National Scholarship Officer in 1952, a position he held for five years. After serving as Smith Province Commander from 1950 to 1954, he was elected to the Executive Council in 1957 and served for four years. Chosen as Knight Commander in August 1961, Nowell guided the Order through one of its most difficult periods, during which the Order’s membership qualifications were hotly debated and finally rewritten. Despite the cost of change, Nowell left the Order in strong financial condition at the end of his second term in 1965. In addition to establishing higher goals for chapter scholarship achievement, he planned the 1965 Centennial Convention and worked toward relocating the national administrative offices at Lexington , Virginia . After his tenure as Knight Commander, he served as president of the Kappa Alpha Scholarship Fund from 1972 until 1991 and a trustee of Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation from 1991 to 1994. President of the North Carolina Academy of Science from 1977 to 1978, Nowell was a chemistry professor at Wake Forest University for many years. Fomer Knight Commander Nowell died on November 11, 2001.