Alpha Theta Omega Chapter was chartered on June 15, 1928 with nine of the most talented, scholarly, prominent, and determined women in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. They were chartered by the South Atlantic Regional Director, Vivian Mason and the International President, B. Beatrix Scott. Having been chartered just twenty short years from our Sorority's inception, the torch of Alpha Kappa Alpha has passed from generation to generation in Alpha Theta Omega through our impressive legacy of mother and daughter members, exemplary members initiated into our graduate chapter over the years, and members who come to Alpha Theta Omega by way of the undergraduate experience. We are well-positioned to promote the principles, policies, and programs of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated on a continuum: Service to All Mankind.
Stewardship and Service has been the mainstay of our primary goals from the early 1930's to the present. Despite adverse economic circumstances that effect the education and career choices of our black youth, Alpha Theta Omega Chapter has been able to pool resources. Our contributions average $15,000 yearly to the local community for 30 or more worthy causes including the YMCA/YWCA, North Carolina Symphony Children's Concert Series, United Way, Autism Society, NAACP, Strengthening the Black Family, Shaw University, Saint Augustine's College, Central Children's Home of North Carolina, Educational Advancement Foundation-AKA, Dorothea Dix Hospital, Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee and a host of others. In 1928 chapter dues and assessments began at $7 and have risen today to just under $700 as we keep pace with the increasing cost of inflation and the high cost of living.
We have moved upward, outward, and forward not only in ideas but also in facilities. Expansion and progress are noted from our first sorority house in 1975 to the building of a new sorority house in 1991. In 1967, charter member Susie Vick Perry, 6th President and her sister, Fannie Vick Latham united the membership and coordinated efforts that led to the purchase of our first property. In 1991 the members of Alpha Theta Omega Chapter were ready, willing and able once again, to purchase a new structure to facilitate chapter growth and program implementation. Under the leadership of the 34th President, Barbara T. Flood and the Executive Committee, construction of our new House began in June, 1991. The Building Committee co-chaired by Thelma H. Anders, 33rd President, and Mertie Batey maintained surveillance of the general contractors, Ward and Associates of Louisburg, North Carolina as our vision unfolded. The first Chapter meeting was held in the brand new Sorority Assembly House on December 21, 1991. One-hundred and ten committed members added this tremendous accomplishment to our repertoire of success stories when we dedicated our House on December 13, 1992. Our quarter-million dollar Sorority Assembly House is located at 2325 Garner Road in the heart of Southeast Raleigh's African American community.
Alpha Theta Omega is a mover-shaker and a pusher and puller in our role as the architect of vigorous innovations through worthwhile school, church, community, and civic projects. We have addressed the traditional dilemma that our black men have not moved as quickly, nor as abundantly in the arenas of influence and affluence. In 1967, we were the first to award a scholarship to a male student. In the 1990s, the Walnut Terrace Program, spearheaded by Arnette G. Gambrell, bridged the gap between elementary school under-achievers and their counterparts. Our AKAs On Your Side Program presented a series of topics such as Parenting Skills/Discipline, Self Esteem, Hygiene and Proper Nutrition, Personal Money Management, and How to Help Your Child At Home for parents. We are involved in projects that emphasize Strengthening the Black Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Breast Cancer, Teenage Pregnancy, and Political Action. At the turn of the 21st Century we were selected as a demonstration site for the Sorority's Ivy Reading AKAdemy. Delores W. Revis, the 27th President served as the Site Coordinator; the program ended in 2006.
Alpha Theta Omega's signature program is its Debutante Scholarship Program. The year-long program offers a blend of cultural and educational enrichment activities that culminate in an Annual Debutante Ball that began on December 31, 1937. That program grew from presenting eleven young ladies to society in 1937 to over 100 during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, peaking at 121. Most importantly is the fact that the history of our Debutante Ball is stored in the North Carolina Collection of the Wilson Round Library on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A major purpose of the Ball is to provide scholarships to the Debutantes matriculating at colleges and universities throughout the United States. In 1971 $7,000 was given in scholarships compared to $79,000 in 2008.
Alpha Theta Omega's programs and projects today are naturally wider and broader than those of yesterday yet, past traditions are so intertwined with the present that it is impossible to divorce the two. Yesterday, under the leadership of 39 Presidents, Alpha Theta Omega was FIRST and BEST in numerous professional and service-oriented endeavors. Our HIV/AIDS Program, Political Programs, UNICEF, and Senior Residence Center encompass and enhance the International Platforms. We sponsor and mentor three undergraduate chapters on the campuses of Shaw University, Saint Augustine's University, and North Carolina State University.
Ours is a LEGACY of leadership. We hosted six Regional Conferences: 1937, 1952, 19 66, 1985, 1997, and 2008; the Northern Carolina Cluster, 1983 and 2002; and the Undergraduate Roundup and Graduate Advisors Council, 1995 and 1999.
Hearts that are loyal and hearts that are true is evidenced by our Life Members: Barbara A. Akinwole, Mary D. Aldrich, 30th President; Rolanda L. Allison; Thelma H. Anders*; Barbara Beard-Hinton; Doris B. Brinson; Betty S. Camp; Angela D. Carter; Minetta G. Eaton*; Carolyn G. Ennis*, 26th President; Barbara T. Flood*; Arnette G. Gambrell*; Linda B. Gill, 38th President; Ruby P. Greene; Docenia Hammond; Mae F. Haywood*; Vivian Irene Lane, 29th President; Lillian S. Lee; Bessie S. Lewis; Bettie R. McClain*; Paulette P. Mack; M. Lloydine Perry; Mavola N. Phuse*; Delores W. Revis; Anita Pearson Royster, 35th President; Hazel A. Sanders, 32nd President; Joan M. Spencer, 8th President; and Minnie P. Turner Williams. Alpha Theta Omega members who have served above the chapter level Elizabeth Schmoke Randolph, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and Supreme Parliamentarian; Lillian S. Lee, NC/VA State Connection Coordinator, and Mid-Atlantic Region Representative to the International Connection Committee, under Mid-Atlantic Regional Directors Caroline Lattimore and Ruby B. Archie; and Gale J. Isaacs, Northern Carolina Cluster Coordinator, under Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Clara M. Hines.
A sampling of many noteworthy Mid-Atlantic Regional achievements, including those of individual Sorors include but are not limited to the following: Alpha Theta Omega Chapter received the Graduate Achievement Award (Membership of 26 or More) for nine consecutive years - 1963 to 1971; three additional consecutive years - 1973 to 1975; and again in 1987. In 2007 we again received the Graduate Achievement Award (Membership 76 and Above). A first place Scrapbook Award was garnered in 1993. Two members have been Regional Award contributors: Susie V. Perry was a contributor of the Graduate Advisors Award and Carolyn G. Ennis continues to sponsor the Creative Expressions Award to undergraduates. Four presidents were honored with The Pauline C. Morton Alumnae Basileus of the Year Award --- 1971, Carolyn G. Ennis; 2000, Barbara T. Flood; 2005, Linda B. Gill; and in 2008, Gale J. Isaacs, 39th President. Six Alpha Theta Omega members have received the Annie L. Harvey Outstanding Graduate Soror of the Year Award: Susie V. Perry in 1971; Marjorie Debnam in 1972; Carolyn G. Ennis, in 1974; Minetta G. Eaton in 1975; Paula Smith-Sawyer in 2000; and Gale J. Isaacs in 2009. Regional Volunteer of the Year honors went to Jeanette Hicks, 1977; Carolyn G. Ennis, 1978; and Minetta G. Eaton, 1979. Gale J. Isaacs received the Bernardine Stoneham Smith Bailey Award for Graduate Journalism in 1998 and the Helen Cauthorne Award for Graduate Advisor of the Year in 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2001.??Susan Malone received the Helen Cauthorne Award for Graduate Advisor of the Year in 2003.
The Regional Award for Man of the Year was conceptualized by Susie V. Perry in 1966 in the guise of an Outstanding Man of the Year presentation at the 13th Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Honorable State Senator John Winters was the winner. The award became a Mid-Atlantic Region custom in 1969. Alpha Theta Omega has presented several notable winners. In the early years, the recipients were Dr. James E. Cheek, President of Shaw University in 1969; the Honorable Clarence Lightner, the first and only African American Mayor in Raleigh, NC history, in 1975; and John H. Baker, Jr., the first African American Sheriff of Wake County, in 1978. The 1980s saw the honor bestowed upon Dr. Prezell R. Robinson, President of St. Augustine's College; Vernon Malone, Educator; and Dan Blue, first African American Speaker of the House, North Carolina State House of Representatives.
Of great historical significance is the continuous, extended years of service by three outstanding members: Docenia Hammond who served as Treasurer for 26 consecutive years, Lovieree L. Warren, who served as Financial Secretary for 19 consecutive years, and Barbara T. Flood, the only five-term President (34th and 36th) in the history of the Chapter; she served an unprecedented ten years.
At the dawn of 2008, Alpha Theta Omega Chapter's Founders Day Observance focused on the 80th Anniversary of its chartering. Adding to the significance of this Observance was the recognition of the uninterrupted service and the unbroken sequence of the last thirteen, 26th to the 39th, Chapter presidents (1970 - 2008) thus establishing The Order of the Presidents.
In acknowledgment of the Centennial Anniversary of Alpha Kappa Alpha, we initiated a Preemie Project involving premature infants housed in the Neuronatal Intensive Care Unit at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh. Lovieree Warren was the catalyst that led to a massive donation of over 400 sets of preemie infant wear from the Carter Childrens Clothing Company. This colossal effort received wide-spread media coverage as Gale J. Isaacs, Courtney M. Telfaire, and Lovieree L. Warren represented the Chapter in an interview on local CBS affiliate television station, WRAL-TV 5. In addition, we celebrated the official retirement of all debt associated with the 1991 building of our Sorority Assembly House with a Mortgage Burning Celebration on June 15, 2008. The mortgage was retired on February 24, 2008 over one full year ahead of schedule.
The current President of Alpha Theta Omega Chapter is Mary D. DesChamps. She began in January, 2020.
This accounting serves as an abbreviated record that serves as a cursory look into the history of the Alpha Theta Omega Chapter. To learn about the history of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, please visit our international website.