Rho Omega was chartered as the 14th graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® on December 17, 1924, in Wilberforce, Ohio under the leadership of International President L. Pearl Mitchell. Lady Pearl Mitchell was the 3rd International President and she was also a native of Wilberforce, Ohio – she attended elementary school here and later received her undergraduate degree from Wilberforce University, where her father served as President and she was a member of the undergraduate Zeta chapter. In fact, two of our five charter members were also Zeta chapter members, Elizabeth Robinson Frazier and Lenora Carrington Lane, and they along with Marcella Hubbard Austin, D. Caroline Payne, and Mabel Moore started Rho Omega on our road to excellence.
Since our beginning, Rho Omega has been a small chapter with fewer than 75 members at any given time, but despite our size, we have enthusiastically embraced the programs of each International President and had members serve at the national and regional levels. Rho Omega’s legacy is one that includes members who have served at the national and regional levels; Charter member and the first Rho Omega President, Lenora Carrington Lane, was the International Corresponding Secretary from 1943 to 1945 and International First Vice President from 1945 to 1948; Ruth Thomas Hargrave was Great Lakes Regional Director from 1948 to 1950; and Altha C. Brown was Great Lakes Regional Director from 1968 to 1972. Rho Omega Golden Life member, Urcelle Carter Willis, was instrumental in working with graduate and undergraduate chapters in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Wilberforce to initiate what we refer to today as the Southern Ohio Cluster. Urcelle was also a member of the Great Lakes Visitation Team from 1968 to 1972, she served as the Great Lakes Regional Cluster Coordinator from 1986 to 1990, and was appointed to the International Leadership Team as a member of the Archives Committee from 2002 to 2004 by the 26th International President, Linda Marie White. Rho Omega Silver Life member, Lugene Bailey, served as Regional Secretary from 2000 to 2001 and Southern Ohio Cluster Coordinator from 2001 to 2002. Rho Omega Silver Life member, Dianna Harris, served as a member of the Regional Standards Committee from 2006 to 2010 and member of the Regional Educational Advancement Foundation Committee from 2010 to 2014; and Rho Omega Silver Life member, Marsha Bayless, served as a member of the Regional Resolutions Committee from 2012 to 2014. We are fortunate to have two members currently serving on Regional committees – member Na’aisha Simon is serving on the Regional Communication Committee and member Shetina Jones is serving on the Regional HBCU Committee.
In the community, member Exie Ashburn served as Assistant School Superintendent of Xenia Community Schools from 1986 to 1988; Silver Life member Diedre Garner served as President of the Southwest Ohio National Pan-Hellenic Council from 2008 to 2018; and Marsha Bayless served as the Mayor of the City of Xenia from 2009 to 2017.
Through the years we have had 40 chapter presidents, 25 who are Ivies Beyond the Wall, and 15 that are actively involved in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated:
Urcelle Carter Willis, Linnel Alexander, Diane Garner, Lugene Bailey, Harvenia Washington, Melva Brown, Mary Gail Simpson
Deidre Garner, Dianna Harris, Ela Powell, Atreva Vaughan, Lynn Ayers,Ericka Williams
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated had its humble beginnings as the vision of nine college students on the campus of Howard University in 1908. Since then, the sorority has flourished into a globally-impactful organization of nearly 300,000 college-trained members, bound by the bonds of sisterhood and empowered by a commitment to servant-leadership that is both domestic and international in its scope.
As Alpha Kappa Alpha has grown, it has maintained its focus in two key arenas: the lifelong personal and professional development of each of its members; and galvanizing its membership into an organization of respected power and influence, consistently at the forefront of effective advocacy and social change that results in equality and equity for all citizens of the world.
Alpha Kappa Alpha’s mission is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of “Service to All Mankind".
Caption: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Founders Harriet Josephine Terry, Joanna Berry Shields, Margaret Flagg Holmes & Beulah Burke