Chapter History

In the early 1970’s, the need for structured, community service programs became apparent across the suburban areas outside of Philadelphia, PA.  Many African American communities lacked reliable resources for information and programs to address health concerns, gaps in education, and means for economic advancement.

With a focused lookout to promote and uphold the tenets of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Mrs. Dorothy Cuff and Equilla Boyce, residents of Chester County, PA in the early 1970’s, called on other Alpha Kappa Alpha women in Chester and Delaware counties to unite for the purpose of forming a graduate chapter.   This group of AKA women met informally for more than a year, working to build a solid foundation of programs and sisterly support.   On November 3, 1973, Anne Mitchem Davis, the North Atlantic Regional Director,  presented a charter to the interest group, and they became known as the Iota Tau Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.  Iota Tau Omega was the third graduate chapter to be established in the greater Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE areas.  It was the 31st chapter to be chartered in the North Atlantic Region.

At the outset, chapter meetings were held in members’ homes; later, meetings were held on Sunday afternoons at Cheyney University’s Home Economics building.

The following officers were installed for 1973-1975:

  • Dorothy Cuff  President
  • Equilla Boyce  Vice-President
  • Helen Howard  Recording Secretary
  • Jeraldine Camper  Corresponding Secretary
  • Charlena Newell Treasurer
  • Delores Benson Parliamentarian

Members of the newly chartered chapter included Vilma Armstead, Kathryn Anderson, Barbara Black, Corolynne Branson, Mary Hunt, Annabelle Jackson, Goldye Johnson, Kathryn Keitt, Penelope Kinsey, Marian Overton, Henrietta Ridley, and Jacqueline Starr.

The first initiation took place in February 1976, and the newly initiated members were Jacqueline Faulcon, Anne Jenkins, Polly Mattison, Aundra Newell, and Mae Rice. The first Ivies Beyond the Wall (deceased chapter members) were Vilma Armstead and Anne Hines in 1976 and Helen Howard in 1982.

During its first seven years, the chapter focused on delivering programs that addressed conditions that often affect the African American community, including education and screening for diabetes, hypertension, and sickle cell anemia.

Chapter Presidents


Dorothy Cuff


Equilla Boyce


Charlena Newell


Carolyn Douglas*


Flora Eikerenkoetter


Andristine Robinson


Franzella Buchanan


Flora Eikerenkoetter


Tracy Wise


Karen S. Bell


Wendy Brown


Karen S. Bell


Cerise James, MD


Karen S. Bell


Yolanda George Turman


Donna Maple


Michelle Strong


Signature Events

The chapter’s signature fundraising event has been its annual fashion show and luncheon.  The proceeds from this event support all chapter programs of service, scholarships and book awards for eligible, college-bound high school seniors.  During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the chapter experimented with other fundraising projects including a boat ride, Monte Carlo Night, musical concerts, and “old school styled” cabarets.

Growth through the Years

Over the course of its fifty-year history, Iota Tau Omega Chapter has supported local programs that reflect the Sorority’s focus on the greater community.  Consistently, the chapter works to contribute in such areas as education, health, the arts, economic empowerment, and the family.  In addition to its legacy programs of presenting scholarships and book awards and on-going health initiatives, current chapter programs include:

  • Community Support — Financial and in-kind donations to the Chester County Food Bank, Domestic Violence Center, Chester County Children, Youth, and Families Services, NAMI, and other community service organizations that are aligned with the Sorority’s vision of service.
  • Civic Service — Support and sponsorship of numerous voter registration drives and distribution of educational materials on voter ID requirements.
  • Healthy Lifestyles Workshops — Health events, co-sponsored in partnership with the Chester County Hospital, highlight steps to healthier, everyday living.
  • Educational Workshops and Programs — ASCEND© program for high school students, focused on academic achievement; self-awareness; communications, community engagement, networking and  leadership development.  The chapter’s collaboration with Lincoln University’s Upward Bound program, provides an annual workshop sharing valuable information on preparing for and applying to college, as well as providing insight into the formula for a successful college experience.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service — Chapter members participate in a variety of events on this nation-wide observance of community volunteerism.

It is through programs like these that the members of Iota Tau Omega Chapter continue to honor their commitment to “Service to all Mankind.”


About This Site

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is not responsible for the contents on this website.It is solely the property and responsibility of the Iota Tau Omega Chapter which hosts and maintains this website.

AKA Links

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

North Atlantic Regional Website

Contact Us

Chapter Address:
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Iota Tau Omega Chapter
P. O. Box 1815
West Chester, PA 19380

Chapter Email: