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Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is the oldest African American service organization for professional women in the U.S. It was founded at Howard University in 1908.
The Lancaster chapter, Iota Theta Omega, was chartered in 1972. The sorority’s legacy of sisterhood, education, service to humanity and support of numerous non-profit organizations continues today. The local chapter has given over $100,000 in scholarships to local youth.
Approximately 300 well-wishers attended the local chapter’s 40th anniversary celebration on Nov. 3 at the City of Lancaster Public Works conference center.
The Mistress of Ceremony was Beatrice Thompson, a radio and television talk show host with WBAV 101.9 FM, WPEG Power 98 FM and CBS Radio.
Lancaster City Councilwoman Tamara Green Garris, on behalf of Mayor Joe Shaw, presented a proclamation to the Iota Theta Omega chapter designating Nov. 3, 2012 as AKA Day for its 40 years of community service.
Arlene Lathan, chapter president, presented the 2012 Woman of the Year award to Lancaster Police Chief Harlean Howard for her outstanding work in the field of law enforcement and dedicated service to the community.
The 2012 Community Service award was presented to Jackie Cousar for her work with disadvantaged children as director of Jackie’s Place.
Beatrice Thompson and Jerry Crockett were given appreciation awards for their support and assistance during the event.
Chisa Putman, Kristin Black and Shuntay Stover presented several awards and recognitions including the Sacred Pearl award that went to the following distinguished and charter members: Delores Hudson, Theodora Smith, Ruth Rucker, Mary Belk, Mary Mackey Robinson, Myrna Blackmon, Alice Pendergrass, Willie Jordan, Katherine Stevens, Ruth Robinson, Willie J. Cannon, Mildred Thomas, Katie Brown, Sandra Jones-Izzard, Miriam Carter and Wilhelmina Peay.
The Young at Heart award went to both Ruth Rucker and Theodora Smith, who are the oldest members in the chapter.
Entertainment included songs by Lancaster High School students and LHS chorus instructor, Troy Dunbar. Music was also provided by The Robinson Sisters, Shirnetha Belk, Mildred Thomas, Annie Cauthen, Chad McDonald and Delores Hudson.
There was also a performance by national award-winning storyteller, Kitty Evans. Sharon McDaniel and relatives from across the U.S. conducted a memorial ceremony for deceased chapter members.
The event ended with a reception, which honored the award winners.