1883 – 1947

First Grand Polemarch and first recipient of the Laurel Wreath

Elder Watson Diggs was born in Madisonville, Kentucky. In the spring of 1908, Diggs graduated from Indiana State normal school in Terre Haute, IN (previously known as Indiana State Teachers college and currently Indiana State University). In 1909 he entered Howard University but a year later he transferred to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. There he received his degree in June of 1916. He served as Grand Polemarch for the first six years of the fraternity’s existence and in 1924 was award the first Laurel Wreath, the fraternity’s highest recognition for achievement.

An educator by profession, he taught in the public schools of Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was elevated to a principalship. Upon America’s entrance into World War I, Diggs resigned from the school system and entered the Nation’s first Officer’s Training Camp at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and was commissioned a lieutenant. After European service with the 368th Infantry, he became a captain in the Reserve Officers Training Corps.