History and Purpose

Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

About Us

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. 


Founded on January 13, 1913, by twenty-two collegiate women at Howard University, the sorority is currently a sisterhood of more than 200,000 predominately Black, college educated women. This includes 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters located in the United States, Canada, England, Japan (Tokyo and Okinawa), Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Republic of Korea.


The major programs of the Sorority are based on the organization's Five-Point  Programmatic Thrust:

  • Economic Development
  • Educational Development
  • International Awareness and Involvement
  • Physical Mental Health
  • Political Awareness and Involvement

ARIZONA EXPANSION

Delta Sigma Theta expanded to Arizona over 80 years ago with the chartering of the Beta Theta Chapter on May 22, 1937. As a mixed chapter of both collegiate and alumnae members, Beta Theta lead the sorority's mission in the Valley for 35 years, including assisting with the chartering of the Tucson Alumnae Chapter in 1967. In 1972, Beta Theta was retired to establish the Phoenix Metropolitan Alumnae and Iota Kappa chapters. Tempe Alumnae (1973) and Mu Eta (1975) came later completing the current Arizona delegation of chapters for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.


TEMPE ALUMNAE CHAPTER

Recognizing the potential for growth in the Valley, three members - Eula Riley Bursh, Sandra Lou Caldwell, and Gladys Earl Roberts - led the charge to petition for an alumnae chapter in 1971. Ten other visionary sorors joined them and the Tempe Alumnae Chapter was chartered on June 9, 1973.


Over the past 45 years, Tempe Alumnae has been transforming lives through impactful programs and services provided to our local community. Here are just a few historical highlights:

  • Starting as "bookships" in 1973, our scholarship program has provided over $100,000 to local students in their pursuit of higher education.
  • Recognizing the Valley was home to an enormous amount of African-American artists who did not have a venue to showcase their work, our chapter created the Ebony Art Show in 1975. Over the years, the event evolved into several forms until we retired the program in 2011.
  • In the 70s and 80s, the Peppermint Cabaret was the chapter's most popular fundraiser, providing an evening of elegance featuring local talent and a special performance by the Tempe Deltas.
  • Christmas in July, in partnership with Tanner Gardens and the Prince Hall Masons, was a mental health program designed to lift the spirits of residents that the chapter implemented for nearly 20 years.
  • In 1996, the chapter started the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy for girls ages 11-14 and added the Dr. Jeanne L. Noble Delta GEMS for girls ages 14-18 in 2011. We have received several awards for our implementation of these national sorority programs. At our most recent Farwest Regional Conference, we received the first place recognition for Exemplary Program Planning with the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy.

Tempe Alumnae Charter Members

Bennie Dangerfield Bailey

Eula 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*


*deceased

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