Chapter History

Chapter Charter

The three chapters in the Phoenix area were born out of the Beta Theta Chapter, which was chartered in 1937 as a mixed chapter of both collegiate and alumnae members. Recognizing the potential for growth in the Valley, three members, Eula Mae Riley Bursh, Sandra Lou Caldwell, and Gladys Earl Roberts, led the charge to petition for an alumnae chapter based in the Tempe area. Nine other energetic and dedicated sorors joined them and the Tempe Alumnae Chapter was chartered on June 9, 1973.

Historical Programs

In the first year of the chapter's existence, these dedicated women were committed to making public service their immediate focus. The chapter kicked off their first year by presenting "bookships" to five local students, supported the Adobe Mountain Corrections School, and hosted bicycle safety clinics throughout the Valley. The chapter also visited patients in various hospitals to read to children and the blind. Over the years, several programs became community favorites:

• The Peppermint Cabaret was the chapter's most popular fundraiser for over 20 years. The event provided an elegant night of entertainment that displayed the talent of local vocalists and always featured a very special performance by the Deltas that became a crownd favorite.

• Recognizing the Valley was home to an enormours amount of talented African-American artists who did not have a venue to showcase their work, the Tempe Alumnae Chapter implemented the Ebony Art Show in 1975. Over the years, this event evolved into several form, including the Sisters in Creation Luncheon held as recently as 2011.

• In an effort to honor and assist the senior citizens around the Valley, the chapter started Christmas in July in 1979. Working closely with Tanner Gardens in South Phoenix, the chapter provided dinner and a variety of gifts. This mental health activity was implemented to lift the spirits of the residents, especially those that did not have many visitors throughout the year. In 1990, the program was expanded to include the Prince Hall Masons who cooked food as the Deltas served dinner to the residents for many years.

• Blanket Sunday was a very popular chapter program in the 1990s. The chapter worked in conjunction with local churches and organizations to collect blankets for needy families. After five years, 900 coats and sweaters and 1700 blankets were collected and distributed.

Tempe Alumnae Chapter


Bennie Dangerfield Bailey

Eula Mae Riley Bursh

Sandra Lou Caldwell*

Herma J. Harris Hightower

Rosemary M. James

Betty Jean James

Eddie J. Johnson*

Helen K. Mason*

Annetta Brooks Moore

Carolyn Warren Pitts*

Gladys Earl Roberts*

Arnette Scott Ward

Margaret Warren*


Tempe Alumnae Chapter Presidents

1973-1975 Eula Mae Riley Bursh

1976-1980 Sandra Lou Caldwell*

1981-1985 Arnette Scott Ward

1985-1987 Toni Bland

1987-1990 Sandra Lou Caldwell*

1990-1992 June Kennedy*

1992-1994 Laura Brooks

1994-1996 Verla Taylor

1996-1998 Traci Williams

1998-2004 Eula Mae Riley Bursh

2004-2006 Betty Jean James

2006-2008 Lela Hailey-Oakes

2008-2009 Emery Evans Burr

2009-2012  Brenda Queen

2012-2014  Stephanie Wilkins-Johnson

2014- 2017 Keisha L. Tatem

2017- present Contrella Watson-Dixon