Academy Leadership


Earl F. Merritt, Chairman

Abdul M. Hafiz, Vice-Chairman


Board Members:

L-Mani S. Viney

Boris E. Ricks, Ph.D.


Earl F. Merritt, Achievement Academy Chairman


Earl F. Merritt is currently the Director for the Office of Multicultural Equity Programs in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State University. His responsibilities entail the development and implementation of strategies designed to increase the recruitment and retention of traditionally underrepresented students of color in higher education. In addition, he is a Lecturer for the Department of African American Studies at Penn State.

He completed his B.A. at Kentucky State College in History and Political Science; graduate degrees in Guidance and Counseling (M.A.Ed.) from Murray State University and Child Development and Family Living (M.A.) from Western Kentucky University plus advance degree studies in Human Development at Penn State University.

At the community level he has served in leadership roles in Phi Delta Kappa a professional education organization and the Forum on Black Affairs an organization that promotes the interests of African Americans in the Penn State community plus current involvement in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (Harrisburg Alumni Chapter-Polemarch, 2004-2007; 2011-13) and State College Rotary (Board of Directors 2006-2011). He is very active in the higher education community presenting at several conferences on topics ranging from pre-college programs, mentoring, fraternity life and strategies to increase the graduate pipeline. His involvement in the Black Caucus of AAHE starts in 1993 while serving on the conference planning committee and was elected the Black Caucus Executive Board in 1995. He has played a key part in the continued development of the workshops and seminars for the Black Caucus until AAHE’s dissolution.

He is a Distinguished Member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars 2002 and a recipient of 2003 American Association of Higher Education Black Caucus Exemplary Award for Public Service plus the 2010 Penn State Outstanding Fraternity University Advisor. He is a charter member of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education plus serving on its Executive Board (2007-11) and he is the National Achievement Academy Chairman and Northeastern Province Advisors Chair for Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., promoting achievement and leadership development of its members in addition to being active in the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. In March 2013 he received the James M. Kidd Award for distinguished leadership and dedicated service within the Northeastern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., plus he received the 2013 Penn State Outstanding National Pan-Hellenic Advisor award.

He has demonstrated selfless commitment to the advancement of student development by volunteering his time to advise several student organizations (Delta Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., at the Penn State University; Multicultural Undergraduate Law Association; and Penn State Rotaract).

No matter what kind of assistance students seek they have a receptive ear and creative problem solver when they enter his door.

Fraternity History:
Initiated Alpha Upsilon Fall 1969
Chapter Polemarch 70-71
Kentucky State University
Charter Member Bowling Green Alumni Chapter 1976
Keeper of Records

Since his initiation Brother Merritt has served the Fraternity in a variety of ways. He is currently the Chapter Advisor for Delta Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., plus Brother Merritt is the Northeastern Province Advising Chair (2009-present). He has been the Northeastern Province representative to the Grand Chapter Elections Committee for the 77th-79th Conclaves. He has served as Polemarch for Harrisburg Alumni Chapter (2004-2007, 2011-13) and President of NPHC of Greater Harrisburg. He is a charter member of Bowling Green Alumni Chapter and State College Alumni Association and a Life Member of Grand Chapter and Northeastern Province.

In 2010 he received the Penn State Outstanding Fraternity University Advisor. At the 83rd NEP Council, March 2013, he received the James M. Kidd Award for distinguished leadership and dedicated service within the Northeastern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., in addition during spring 2014 he has received the 2013 Penn State Outstanding National Pan-Hellenic Advisor award.

In 2014 he was appointed by the 32nd Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., as Chairman of the Achievement Academy.


Abdul M. Hafiz, Achievement Academy Vice-Chairman

Abdul Hafiz2

Abdul M. Hafiz currently serves in the position of Undergraduate Member to the Grand Board of Directors of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, and the Vice-Chairman of the Achievement Academy.  He is a senior and Torch Scholar at Northeastern University in Boston, MA studying International Affairs and Political Science. Abdul was initiated into the Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi in the Fall of 2011. Abdul is a member of the Epsilon Class of the Kappa Undergraduate Leadership Institute.

Abdul was born and raised in Staten Island, New York and is the son of Ghanaian immigrants. Since an early age, Abdul developed a passion for giving back to his underprivileged community of Park Hill. He has worked on community cleanups, legislative issues, grant writing, and served on executive youth boards.

At Northeastern University, Abdul is currently the Vice-President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. He also serves as a Peer Tutor, General Studies Mentor and Ambassador, Legacy Mentor, and Jr. Fraternity & Sorority Life Chair. He also volunteers with the Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self Development. Abdul has future aspirations of attending Law School and pursuing a career in politics.


L-Mani S. Viney, Achievement Academy Board Member

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius

If there is any quote that aptly describes the “walk” of L-Mani S. Viney it would be this one. Since his graduation from Boston College in 1996, you can say that he has not worked a day in his life in his walk as a veteran educator, national youth leader, community activist, mentor, husband and father. His work is rooted in his core belief that every individual has the power to positively impacts and influences the lives of youth and runs with a passion and endless fire to continue to bring this belief to reality.

Since 1998 Mr. Viney has been responsible for educating tomorrow’s future as a teacher of Social Studies at Piscataway High School in Piscataway, NJ. As an educator, he has taught over 1600 students within the district to which his work led him to be recognized as the 2006 NJ Amistad Teacher of the Year. Translating his profession into his passion, he was given the historic recognition of being appointed the National Guide Right Committee Chairman of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated during the 100 year celebration of the Fraternity’s existence. This appointment was quickly followed up the next year with his election to the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation board and invitation to serve on the African American Advisory Leadership Council for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Often known as an “outside the box” thinker and leader who burns the candle on both ends, Mr. Viney focuses his energy of developing and strengthening innovative programs for young people of color that have long lasting impact and sustainability. In Kappa Alpha Psi he has oversaw the expansion of its programs to now serving over 12,000 youth. In 2011 he led the launch of the Diamonds In the Rough Initiative which has resulted in over 8.5 million dollars of scholarships for young men of color and a 99% graduation rate of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 senior class. In valuing the importance of partnerships, he collaborated with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to establish the Mentoring Diamonds initiative, a program providing “Little’s” with the opportunity to be mentored for college by undergraduate and alumni members of Kappa Alpha Psi.

Mr. Viney lives in West Orange, NJ with his amazing wife Deidra, creative son Lorenzo, future “CEO of the Universe” daughter Dana and mentor to his buddy and friend Elie for over 3 years.Though he works on national issues, he has never left the front lines of his childhood hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey. His drive to give back to his community led him to become director for the Jersey City Kappa League, executive director of the Global Leadership and Achievement Foundation and leadership board member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Essex, Hudson and Union County agency. In his mind to impact the world, you must impact your home first. He’s often asked if he ever stops. The answer is always the same. No.

As Confucius has also said: “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”


Boris E. Ricks, Ph.D., Achievement Academy Board Member

Boris E. Ricks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at California State University, Northridge. Dr. Ricks specializes in Urban Politics; State and Local Politics; Racial and Ethnic Politics; Environmental Justice; Public Policy; Political Leadership; Public Administration; and Health Disparities.  Professor Ricks is a former Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Politics Department at Pomona College (2004-2006).  He is also former Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (2006-2008). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (MA in Political Science), Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Mississippi in and Bachelors of Science (Honors) in Criminal Justice from Mississippi Valley State University.  

Ricks is an advocate of Civic Engagement and serves in the following capacities: Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board (WIB), Commissioner; Weingart YMCA, Board of Managers; 100 Black Men Los Angeles, Board of Directors; AD59-CA Assembly District, Delegate; African American Board Leadership Institute, Member; Los Angeles African American Women Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI), Advisor; and etc.  Dr. Ricks scholarly research has appeared in the following publications: National Political Science Review; Journal of American Ethnic Studies; Journal of Rhetoric and Public Affairs; and the Encyclopedia of African American Religion and Politics.  Not to mention several book chapters, book reviews, monographs and technical reports.  Dr. Ricks has been awarded several research grants including the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award, CSUN-RIMI Research Grant, CSBS Summer Research Grant, and etc.

Ricks enjoys family, reading, working out, and flag football.