AKA celebrating a legacy of supreme service

January 19, 2017 in News

By Stephanie R. Jones

Contributing Writer

Alpha Kappa Alpha members (in white) present awards to recipients Dr. Byron D. Orey, Dr. Lisa Osunleti, Dr. Larry Johnson and Dr. Scharri Ezell Walker. photo By Stephanie R. Jones

Alpha Kappa Alpha members (in white) present awards to recipients Dr. Byron D. Orey, Dr. Lisa Osunleti, Dr. Larry Johnson and Dr. Scharri Ezell Walker. photo By Stephanie R. Jones

An overflow crowd made up mainly of women in white dresses and pearls filled Tougaloo College’s Woodworth Chapel Sunday to commemorate the founding 109 years ago of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Members of Beta Delta Omega Chapter, a graduate chapter in Jackson, Miss., along with Gamma Rho Chapter (Jackson State University) joined to host their 109th Founders’ Day Observance. They paid tribute to their founders as well as members of the Jackson Metro area whose life work has aligned with the mission of service to which Alpha Kappa Alpha adheres.

“Today we are celebrating a legacy of supreme service,” said guest speaker Evelyn J. Leggette, Ph.D., provost and senior vice-president for Academic and Student Affairs at Jackson State University and a member of BDO. Leggette said the day was also an opportunity to reflect on the trailblazing AKA founders, to share accomplishments of members past and present, and to look to the future. “Our founders in 1908 asked, ‘what can I do, how can I render service?’” Leggette said. “These women knew that there is no greater call than service and it’s up to us to carry that out.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first sorority for African-American women, was founded on the campus of Howard University Jan. 15, 1908. It remains committed to “Service to All Mankind” by providing community outreach to neighboring communities under the umbrella “Launching New Dimensions of Service,” the organization says. Its international program focuses on: Educational Enrichment, Health Promotion, Family Strengthening, Environmental Ownership, and Global Impact. BDO was founded in 1934.

“These enthusiastic, talented women knew that if the world is to be made better, I must get in there to make it better – supreme service,” Leggette said. “How will we live up to our founders’ vision?” Leggette asked. “There is no better way to do something for yourself than to serve others. We celebrate the legacy of supreme services.” In that vein, the chapters recognized some Jackson Metro area community members who serve their communities day to day in accordance with the sorority’s goals. Recognition was given in the areas of health care, leadership and community service. Jasmin O. Chapman, chief executive officer of Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, was recognized as Health Care Advocate of the Year. Leadership Recipient of the Year was Jerry Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church and president of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. Community Service Recipients of the Year were Jackie H. Hampton, publisher of The Mississippi Link, and Alice Thomas Tisdale, publisher of The Jackson Advocate, for their work in sharing news and experiences of the local African-American community. The Dr. Ernestine Holloway Educators of the Year awards went to Larry Johnson and Scharri Ezell Walker, both of Tougaloo College. Liza Osunleti Beckely-Roberts of Jackson State University, and Byron D. Orey, Jackson State University political science professor, were named the Dr. Cozetta White Buckley Educators of the Year. The chapters presented $1,000 checks for endowed scholarships to both Tougaloo and Jackson State.

Leggette concluded with a call for her sorors to honor the legacy of their founders. “I need them to know I believe in service. Our founders were expected to serve, give supreme service. Those are the persons upon whose shoulders I stand,” Leggette said.

Stephanie R. Jones can be reached at srjones13@gmail.com or (601) 454-0372.

Members of Beta Delta Omega and Gamma Rho chapters present $1,000 checks to scholarship endowments at Tougaloo College and Jackson State University.

Members of Beta Delta Omega and Gamma Rho chapters present $1,000 checks to scholarship endowments at Tougaloo College and Jackson State University.

Chapter President Rose Franklin presents Tougaloo College President Beverly Hogan a token of appreciation

Chapter President Rose Franklin presents Tougaloo College President Beverly Hogan a token of appreciation

Award recipients Dr. Jasmin O. Chapman, CEO of Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, Jackie Hampton, publisher of The Mississippi Link, and Jerry Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church

Award recipients Dr. Jasmin O. Chapman, CEO of Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, Jackie Hampton, publisher of The Mississippi Link, and Jerry Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church

Legacy of Supreme Service honorees Lisa Beckley-Robertss, Byron Orey, Jasmin Chapman, Alice Tisdale, Jackie Hampton, Jerry Young, Scharri Walker and Larry Johnson photos By Stephanie R. Jones

Legacy of Supreme Service honorees Lisa Beckley-Robertss, Byron Orey, Jasmin Chapman, Alice Tisdale, Jackie Hampton, Jerry Young, Scharri Walker and Larry Johnson photos By Stephanie R. Jones

Robert Lock, Floyd Baker and Edward Wiggins Jr. at Founder’s Day program.

Robert Lock, Floyd Baker and Edward Wiggins Jr. at Founder’s Day program.