Organized in 1922 and becoming an incorporated national collegiate sorority in 1929, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized by seven young educators: Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little, Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Annette Dulin Redford, Bessie Mae Downey Rhoades Martin and Cubena McClure.
Throughout their history, they have been continuing to grow through Sisterhood, Scholarship, and Service, and have grown to be an international service organization with women from every profession.
“Sigma Gamma Rho offers its members opportunities to develop their unique talents through leadership training and involvement in sorority activities,” DeAna B. Wilkins, Public Relations Chair, said. “Sorority activities provide an atmosphere where friendships and professional contacts are developed which often lead to bonds that last a lifetime.”
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.’s mission is to “enhance the quality of life for women and their families in the U.S. and globally through community service, civil and social action,” with a goal of achieving greater progress in education, leadership development, and health awareness.
The Alpha Lambda Sigma Alumnae Chapter, the local chapter in Cleveland, was chartered on June 20, 1942 and was the first graduate chapter to be established in the state of Ohio.
Recently celebrating their 100-year anniversary, sorority members came home this past June and November to celebrate on Butler University’s campus.
“To celebrate this major milestone, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority National Education Fund, Inc. (NEF) & Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. have partnered to create 25 scholarships $10,000/each) in the name of the current and past presidents (Grand Basilei) of the Sorority,” Wilkins said.
“Locally, sorority members are showing their Centennial excitement by displaying celebratory yard signs throughout the city, [participating] in the Warrensville Memorial Day Parade, and hosting a gala to commemorate its centennial milestone with the community and leaders,” she said. “Alpha Lambda Sigma also showcased a blue and gold float during the 11th Congressional District Labor Day Parade and sponsored a tent at the Luke Easter Park where water, hand sanitizers and reusable grocery totes were given to community members.”
Anita Laster Mays, 2022-2024 President of the local chapter, is excited to witness the centennial.
“I imagine our Founder’s inaugural meeting envisioning equality and opportunity for women and their children,” she said. “Today, we work to continue the mission by voting, educating the community and advocating for fundamental rights. Through these actions, we aim to make an impact in our community for the next 100 years.”
More information can be found on their national website, centennial website, or on their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages.