Gary Alumnae Chapter History

beta nu chapter

The beginning

In 1938 seven women from Northwest Indiana petitioned Grand Chapter for a charter for a mixed chapter for Gary, Indiana. The chapter was proclaimed as the Beta Nu Chapter. The first President of Beta Nu was Soror Edna Johnson Morris. Mrs. Morris is noted for writing a rough draft of the history of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In 1975 Beta Nu Chapter became Gary Alumnae Chapter and since that time more than $200,000 in academic and community service scholarships have been awarded to high school college-bound girls; nearly 2,000 savings bonds have been awarded to middle school and high school students who have overcome significant challenges in their lives, their schools and the community; school uniforms and prom dresses have been distributed to several hundred students; Young women in Kenya have been supported for pre-natal care and water wells purchased for the health and well-being of communities in Ghana; Hundreds of citizens have received free health screenings; thousands of paired shoes have been donated to Haiti and African villages; toiletry packages donated to several shelters in NWI for women who have suffered from domestic violence issues and thousands have been fed through the annual Thanksgiving Dinner program.

The Delta House

The first Delta house of Beta Nu Chapter was located on a site in the 2600 block of Harrison Street in Gary, Indiana.
In order to purchase an elegant two-story house and maintain that elegance, funds came from both the chapter treasury and generous contributions from chapter members.
The large living and dining rooms served as the chapter meeting room and the bedrooms were used for committee meetings and storage for Delta properties.
The Delta house was not only used for chapter meetings and activities, it was also rented to other Greek organizations for their activities as well as the place for hosting wedding receptions.
In order to oversee the property, the House Director, an office of the chapter, was a very important office. Both Edna Morris and Edith Franklin served for many years in this key position.
As years passed, more and more work was required on the Delta house. Of course, money became more important as repairs became necessary. It was decided by the chapter to transform the Delta house into rental property which contained four (4) rental apartments. According to statements from Beta Nu Charter members, “Some of the tenants were great but there were those who proved to be a liability by damaging the apartments and others who refused to live up to their financial agreement.” With all of these challenges, the chapter continued to work hard to keep up the Delta rental property.
Because of the needed repairs, the house no longer was used for meetings. Members opened up their homes for meetings and activities. Edith Franklin opened up her home often for meetings and activities. Ana Broomes of East Chicago also graciously opened up her beautiful home where many Founders Day celebrations were held as well as other chapter events. Mrs. Broomes’ home affectionately became known as the “East Chicago Delta House.”

Beta nu and gary alumnae chapter

Beta Nu and Gary Alumnae has always been known for bringing cultural events, Broadway theatrical productions and world renowned musicians to Gary. Before West Side High School and the West Side Theater Guild, Delta was on the move. Many of these events were held at Roosevelt High School and at the historic Memorial Auditorium. Some of the outstanding theatrical productions presented were; “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope,” “Bubbling Brownsugar,” “The Wiz,” and “Where Were You In 1965?” In addition to these world renowned productions, some outstanding entertainment legends frequented Gary due to Delta’s Arts and Letters’ committees such as comedienne Moms Mabley, and jazz legends Duke Ellington, Nancy Wilson, Billy Eckstein and Wes Montgonery. Economics pushed an increase in prices for artists and productions, and as a result, Gary Alumnae Chapter united with the West Side Theater Guild in bringing cultural events to Gary. To this date, GAC continues to bring cultural events to Northwest Indiana.

The Uniqueness of Beta Nu and Gary Alumnae Chapter

  • Three GAC members have held national offices: Edna Johnson Morris (National Secretary 1921-1923) under National President Sadie T. M. Alexander; Ruth Sloan Taylor (National Secretary 1975-1979 under National President Thelma T. Daley); Ethel Pannel, a little lady but filled with strength, boldness and fortitude, was appointed Sergeant At Arms and served in this position for many years.  Hortense House served as State Coordinator and represented Gary Alumnae well with her commitment, knowledge and love for Delta.
  • Not only did Beta Nu/Gary Alumnae have members who served as National officers, many National officers also came to Gary. Each praised the GAC members for the royal treatment that they received and they looked forward to returning to our fair city. National Presidents who came to Gary: Lillian P. BenbowFrankie Freeman, Esq., Mona H. BaileyThelma T. Daley. Hortense Canady, Marcia L. Fudge, Cynthia McIntyre-Butler, and current National President Beverly Smith. Other Delta members of National and Regional prominence who came to Gary include  Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Marcia Fudge, Esq., Barbara Curtis, Carol Ware, Darlene Pollard, Dr. Mona Y. Davenport, Kimberly Offord, Suzzanne Douglass-CobbSheryl Lee Ralph and National President, Beverly Smith. 
  • It goes without saying that Gary has a unique chapter of extraordinary, dedicated, committed Deltas. Those who have relocated to other cities and chapters voice the same sentiment: “There is no place like home.”
  • From 1963-1975, twenty-two (22) presidents served Beta Nu; since 1975, seventeen (17) presidents have served Gary Alumnae.
  • Four members of Gary Alumnae held state, national and regional positions for the 2017-2018 sorority year.
  • Marcedia Bolden served as the Indiana State Coordinator, Terri Monroe Weems served as a member of the regional nominating committee, Ashley Pratt was the Indiana State Secretary and Deborah Hendricks-Black was appointed to a special committee for the State of Indiana.
  • Tina Y. Davis-Powell was appointed to the National Membership Services Committee in January 2019 and is serving currently.
  • At the 2019 National Convention in New Orleans, LA, Tina Davis-Powell served as the co-chair for the Membership Services Room for the National Convention in New Orleans, 2019.  She was responsible for all activities and events that occurred in the room.
  • Shanta Belyeu-Mack currently serves as a member on the National Audit Committee and has served since the  2018-19 sorority year.
  • GAC continues to soar in 2018-2020 with Regional and State appointments and leadership accomplishments.
  • GAC Immediate Past President, Arlene Mitchell-Pearson, was named to the Midwest Region’s Risk Management Committee for 2018-2019.
  • GAC Past President, Deborah Hendricks-Black, was appointed as the Emergency Response Team Coordinator for the State of Indiana for the 2018-19 sorority, year.
  • Gary Alumnae Chapter member, Aimbrell D. Holmes graduated from the Midwest Fellows Program at the 48th Regional Conference in Cincinnati, OH, Summer 2019.
  • Gary Alumnae members have held key positions in our service area: Karen Freeman-Wilson is the former Mayor of the City of Gary and was the first African-American female mayor of our city; Deidre Monroe is the City Judge for the City of Gary; Mary Brown is the 3rd District Council Woman for the City of Gary, and Dr. Sharon Johnson-Shirley is the current Superintendent of the Lake Ridge School Corporation.  In addition to these key positions, many GAC members are prominent doctors and nurse practitioners with their own practices, lawyers, school principals, accountants, corporation presidents, business owners, professors, corporation CEOs, and high-level administrators and managers and sit on numerous boards in Lake and Porter Counties.
  • Gary Alumnae Chapter continues to excel and is known as the “Cream of the Crop” thanks to our rich history, outstanding legacy, projects, programming, commitment, love dedicated members.
  • Thanks to the Immediate Past Indiana State Coordinator Marcedia Bolden & GAC members who were instrumental in assisting the State of Indiana to obtain the green light for a Delta Sigma Theta license plate that was released in Spring 2020.

GARY ALUMNAE LOGO & CREST

The Gary Alumnae crest was designed by GAC Past President Deborah Hendrick Black.
Each part of the Gary Alumnae Chapter logo (emblem) has a distinctive principled meaning. It represents a legacy of our chapter and is a place where Delta history and Gary Alumnae Chapter history intersect. The words Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. encircle the top of the logo. That is our identity. The Torch represents our twenty-two Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., who forged a continued pursuit of excellence through education. The Delta Sigma Theta Public Motto is the base of the logo, and it reads, “Intelligence is The Torch of Wisdom”. The words Beta Nu and Gary Alumnae Chapter encircle the base completing the foundation. They represent Delta women of our chapter-past, present and future, who serve the community in truth, intelligent leadership and achievement in Northwest Indiana. The dates at the three corners of the pyramid highlight three significant dates in the chapter’s history; “1913” the founding year of the sorority, “1938” the charter year of Beta Nu Chapter, and “1975” the charter year of Gary Alumnae Chapter. Fortitude, a tribute to our Founders represents our courageous past, present and future. As a reflection, Fortitude’s hand is reaching back as she supports the future. Simultaneously, Fortitude reaches forward into the future and reaches back, never to forget her past. The Seven Sparks of Gold on the log represent The Seven Charter Members of Beta Nu Chapter. The seven sparks are (from top to bottom), the pyramid at the point, the top left arch, the top right arch, the Greek letters of delta, sigma and theta, and the backdrop of Beta Nu.
It was revealed to the membership in 2012 as a pre-celebration gift of the chapter’s 75th Anniversary
The GAC can be seen on members’ paraphernalia and is a permanent fixture of our historic chapter.
GAC members adorned the first chapter blazer with the GAC logo at the Midwest Regional Conference in Indianapolis, IN in June 2016.

GARY ALUMNAE AWARDS & RECOGNITION

  • 2004 Indiana Chapter of the year
  • 2010 Midwest Chapter of the Year
  • 2012 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2013 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2014 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2015 National Chapter Award: International Awareness- World AIDS Day 2014
  • 2015 Midwest Region Chapter Award: Economic Development
  • 2015 National Chapter Award: Educational Development Grant Awardee
  • 2015 National Chapter Award: Project 13
  • 2015 National Chapter Award: Heritage & Archives
  • 2015 National Chapter Representatives for the National President’s Academy: EMBODI & GEMS
  • 2015 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2016 Divine 9 Winner- 1st AME Black History Service & Program
  • 2016 NWI Inter-Greek Stroff Off Champions
  • 2017 Divine 9 Winner- 1st AME Black History Program
  • 2017 National Chapter Award-Project 13: March of Dimes Walk/Program
  • 2017 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2017 Crossroads Barber Show Award Recipient (Step & Stroll Team Performance)
  • 2nd place winner, State of Indiana Sisterhood Contest
  • 2018 Divine 9 Winner- 1st AME Black History Service & Program
  • 2018 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off Champions
  • 2019 National Convention, 1st Place Parent Handbook-Risk Management Award
  • 2019 Midwest Region, 1st Place Sisters on Sisterhood Award- Tina Davis-Powell
  • 2019 Midwest Region, 3rd Place Delta D.E.A.R. of the Year Award- Faye K. Barnes
  • 2019 NWI Inter-Greek Stroll Off, 2nd Place
  • 2019 Midwest Region, Chapter of the Month (December)
  • 2020 Midwest Region, 2nd Place Chapter of the Year
  • 2020 Midwest Region, 2nd Place Physical and Mental Health
  • 2020 Midwest Region, 2nd Place Emergency Response Team
  • 2020 Midwest Region, 3rd Place Reclaim to Fame
  • 2020 Midwest Region, 3rd Place Sister on Sisterhood Award – Shana L. Caruthers
  • 2021 Midwest Region, 1st Place Reclaim to Fame
  • 2021 Midwest Region, 2nd Place Chapter of the Year
  • 2021 Midwest Region, 2nd Place Emergency Response Team
  • 2021 Midwest Region, 3rd Place International Awareness and Involvement
  • 2021 Midwest Region, 3rd Place Physical and Mental Health
  • 2022 Midwest Region, 3rd Place Five Star Chapter
  • 2022 Midwest Region, 3rd Place Emergency Response Team
  • 2022 Midwest Region, 3rd Place Educational Development
  • 2023 National Convention Award, 3rd Place Physical and Mental Health
  • 2023 Midwest Award, Alumnae Soror of the Year Soror Faye Barnes 
  • 2023 Midwest Award, Large Chapter Delta Days at the National Capital Attendance (tied)
  • 2023 Midwest Award, Large Chapter Attendance at the 56th National Convention

*This list is a short summary of awards earned since 2004

Beta Nu / Gary Alumnae Chapter Presidents

Beta Nu Presidents 1938-1975

Gary Alumnae Chapter Presidents 1975-present

*Omega Omega Chapter

2022-Present Lisa M. Derico
2020-2022 Shana L. Caruthers2018-2020 Yvonne D. Lucas
2014-2018 Arlene Mitchell Pearson2012-2014 Sheila Baker
2008-2012 Deborah Hendricks Black2006-2008 Alesia Y. Pritchett
2004-2006 Saundra Holden Parrott2002-2004 Delores Gibson
2000-2002 Vertelle Staton1996-2000 Hortense House
1994-1996 Ernestine Dobbins1992-1994 Patsy Merriweather
1989-1991 Donna Burton1987-1989 Rosie G. Washington
1985-1987 Daisy Holiday Purnell1983-1985 Delbra Bradley
1980-1983 Harriett Mackel*1979-1980 Juanita Vincent
1978-1979 Vera Cornish1976-1978 Alice Davis
1975-1976 Wilma Logan Brown1974-1975 Wilma Logan Brown
1972-1974 Jeanette B. Pike1970-1972 Della Burt-Bradley
1969-1970 Leola Rule*1967-1969 Kathlyn Thompson*
1965-1967 Ardenia Goodson1963-1965 Ruth Taylor*
1961-1963 Constance Hill*1960-1961 Harriett Mackel*
1958-1960 JoAnn Hall Evans*1957-1958 Charlena Taylor*
1956-1957 Harriett Mackel*1955-1956 Frankie McCullough*
1953-1955 Dorothy Bradshaw*1952-1953 Lenora Rickman*
1950-1952 Beatrice Joiner*1949-1950 Ethel Pannell*
1947-1949 Pocahontas Brown Greadington*1945-1947 Mattalyn Bonner*
1944-1945 Josephine Riggins*1943-1944 Mabel Cox*
1941-1943 Inez Brewer*1938-1941 Edna Johnson Morris*
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