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9:44 PM / Saturday January 28, 2023

2 Feb 2019

AKA Philly Metro Chapters celebrate Founders’ Day

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February 2, 2019 Category: Local Posted by:

The ladies who were among the special guests attending the luncheon (from left) Cheryl Mobley Stimson, former International Second Více President; Jasmine Thornton; Evelyn Sample Oates, former Centenial North Atlantic Regional Director; Elicia Pegues Spearman, chair, Leadership Fellow Committee; Bonnie Murdah, International Parlamentarian; Stephanie Rawlings Blake, former mayor of Baltimore; Gia James, North Atlantic Region, Cluster II Cordinator, and Dr. Robyn Jones, Regional Health & Wellness Chair. (Photos: Robert Mendelsohn)

A celebration of 111 years of sisterhood and service

By Patricia Gilliam Clifford

The Philadelphia Metropolitan Area chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. marked their 111th anniversary with a Founders’ Day celebration on Saturday, January 26, 2019.

The “Rededication of Service and Excellence” took place at Drexelbrook Caterers in Drexelbrook, Pennsylvania.

Stephanie Rawlings Blake, former mayor of Baltimore, extended a warm welcome to all members and special guests, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. International Parliamentarian Bonnie Murdah and others.  

Terri Dean and Lorina Marshall Blake

The members were entertained by violinist Myles Bell. The gifted musician is a sophomore at Henderson High School in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  Each year, the Philadelphia metropolitan area chapters provide a spotlight for a local Historically Black College or University (HBCU), highlighting its historical importance and significant community impact.

This year’s university selection was Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, which was the first HBCU when it was founded in 1837.

A donation in the amount $5,000 was presented to Elizabeth Berry Holmes, immediate past president of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Alumni Association.  A message of appreciation was shared via video from Cheyney president, Aaron A. Walton. 

AKA members from Mother Bethel AME Church (from left) Donna Mathews, Leslie Tyler, Celia Berry, Gladys Thomas, Loretta Rogers, Beverly Renfow, and Vanessa Thomas Smith

The 500 plus members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. who gathered for the joint Founders Day program primarily consisted of members from the area graduate chapters. These chapters included: Omega Omega Chapter president Carol Parkinson-Hall of Philadelphia; Iota Tau Omega Chapter president Yolanda George Turman of West Chester;  Rho Theta Omega Chapter president Celeste Merriweather of Philadelphia; Tau Delta Omega Chapter president Karen Smith-Thomas of Chester;  Phi Beta Omega Chapter president Nia N. Campbell of Montgomery County;  Omega Zeta Omega Chapter president Julie C. Moore of Bucks County and Omega Mu Omega Chapter president Jacqulynn Hugee of  Philadelphia.  

Highlights of the afternoon also included welcoming remarks by Gia James, North Atlantic Region, Cluster II coordinator, followed by a beautiful musical selection by the Founders’ Day Choir and a rededication ceremony led by Stephanie Rawlings Blake, who is the North Atlantic Region Rituals Chair. There were also greetings by Assweli Coleman, who is with the International Constitution and Bylaws Committee North Atlantic Region Prayer Team. After another special musical selection by violinist Myles Bell, a prayer was offered by Kristina Fripp of the North Atlantic Region Prayer Team before everyone enjoyed a delicious luncheon. 

The Basileus of the Metropolitan Philadelphia Chapters také a group photo. (from left) Julie Moore, Omega Zeta Omega; Nia Campbell, Phi Beta Omega; Kortne Smith, Tau Delta Omega; Yolanda Turman, Iota Tau Omega; Carol Parkinson-Hall Omega Omega; Celeste Merriweather, Rho Theta Omega, and Jacqulynn Hugee, Omega Mu Omega.

The presentation of “Soror of the Year,” chapters by the Basileus of the Metropolitan Philadelphia Chapters followed. The outstanding sorors included: Julie C. Moore, Omega Zeta Omega; Nia Campbell, Phi Beta Omega; Kortne Smith, Tau Delta Omega; Yolanda Turman, Iota Tau Omega; Carol Parkinson-Hall Omega; Celeste Merriweather, Rho Theta Omega and Jacqulynn Hugee, Omega Mu Omega.

“Phases of sisterhood” were acknowledged: undergraduate sorors, Alycia Heggs, former Baileus, Tau Xi; Caorryn Bauknman, Baselius, Theta Iota; legacy sorors, Kortne Smith, Anti-Basileus, Tau Delta Omega new soror, Kimberlyne Bethea, Iota Tau Omega; reactivated soror, Jayminn Sanford-DeSheilds, Omega Mu Omega; golden soror, June T. Johnson, Rho Theta Omega and diamond soror, Doris Carter Moore, Omega Omega. The sorority states, “Education will continue to be a primary focus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and supporting HBCUs is a nationwide priority. Alpha Kappa Alpha’s “HBCU For Life: A Call for Action” campaign highlights HBCUs and their contribution to the sorority and society through education, engagement, and advocacy for students nationwide.  The Philadelphia Metropolitan Area graduate chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. collectively donated over $166,028 to fund grants, scholarships and community programs in 2018. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is the first Greek-lettered sorority established by African-American women on January 15, 1908, on the campus of Howard University, Washington, D.C. Our illustrious founder, Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, was a charter member of Omega Omega Chapter in Philadelphia.  Driven by its dedication to service and sisterhood, the sorority has evolved into a global organization with 300,000 members consisting of over one thousand chapters nationally and internationally. Our programs and services are driven by our dedication to service, sisterhood and scholarship and fulfill our timeless motto of “Service to all Mankind.”

Congratulations to all members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. involved in this major milestone celebrating more than a century of rich history and service!

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