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The Paul W. Caine Foundation is committed to the spirit of servant leadership, perseverance, philanthropy, and community service demonstrated by Paul W. Caine. We celebrate his memory by continuing his life’s work and by naming our foundation in his honor. The following biography exhibits how Paul W. Caine contributed to society in the city of Evanston and beyond.


Paul Waymond Caine, the consummate entrepreneur, an idealistic chef, always friendly and displaying a pleasant disposition, was born in Greencastle, Indiana, on May 17, 1890.  


Caine attended public schools in Greencastle, Indiana, and enrolled at Indiana University sometime between 1909 and 1910 as a business major. He was adept at cooking. Caine honed those skills while working at DePauw University, where he worked as a cook in the sorority houses before enrolling as a student at Indiana University. He was a fine caterer and was in demand by the white fraternities on campus and kept many of his fraternity brothers from hunger.

Caine was one of the ten black Indiana University students who founded Kappa Alpha Nu Fraternity (later renamed Kappa Alpha Psi), January 5, 1911. He was also instrumental in establishing the Beta, Gamma, Delta, Zeta, and Theta Chapters of the Fraternity. Upon its founding and until this day, Kappa Alpha Psi remains the only Greek letter organization with its Alpha Chapter on Indiana University's campus. Kappa Alpha Psi is the 2nd oldest existing collegiate historically Black Greek Letter Fraternity and the 1st intercollegiate Fraternity incorporated as a national body. The Fraternity has grown to include over 125,000 members and expanded to with nearly 850 undergraduate and alumni chapters in almost every state in the United States, and international chapters in Nigeria, South Africa, the Grand Bahamas, Panama, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada.

Because of a disastrous fire in the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity house he was employed in, he lost all of his personal belongings during his freshman year. Caine persevered but was eventually was forced to withdraw from school during his sophomore year, the winter quarter of 1911. He subsequently set up the Caine Catering Company in his hometown and continued his catering business in various cities, including Gary, Indiana, Peoria, Chicago, and Evanston, Illinois. The Evanston Caine Catering Company was located at 1919 Asbury Avenue. It was known to employ 3-5 persons and served the best people of Evanston. The business became famous for producing gingered apples, fruit cake, and Caine’s signature Golden Glow Mayonnaise. Caine subsequently opened a restaurant and bakery while residing in Peoria, Illinois. 


Caine attended Columbia University in 1917 and published a catering book, Artistic Dishes, copyrighted in 1919 by the Hurst Publishing Company. He became well known in the culinary circles, and he taught cooking classes and conduct lectures on cooking in various cities throughout the country.


While residing in Gary, Indiana, Caine took up work at the Gary Steel Mill as a laborer and married Jeanette E. Wilson in 1921. While living in Chicago in the early-mid 1920s, Caine helped organize and furnish the Chicago (IL) Alumni Chapter’s new ‘Kappa Kastle.’    


Caine was altruistic and cared deeply for the youth. While residing in Dixon, Illinois, in the late 1920s, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Douglas Community Center. After relocating to Rockford, Illinois, Caine volunteered at the Booker T. Washington Social Center as Advisor to the junior boys. In this capacity, he mentored them and conducted numerous affairs, including Christmas parties and the arrangement of various social activities.


He later acquired a 2nd hand goods clothing store named Rockford Exchange and dry cleaner business in Rockford, Illinois. He was burned during an explosion of gaseous materials as he worked in his dry cleaning business.  Caine subsequently died of pneumonia on April 15, 1931, from injuries sustained from the fire. During the Fraternity’s bi-annual Grand Chapter Meeting, the highest Fraternity award available to alumni chapters for outstanding achievement, the Paul W. Caine Award, is named in his honor. He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Rockford, Illinois.

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