by Leah Jackson
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Iota Mu Chapter at Northwestern State University is marking is 50th anniversary this year. Iota Mu will host a celebration gathering in Natchitoches, where the 50-year sisterly journey began, May 21-22, an event that will commemorate the sorority’s rich history and legacy.
The Iota Mu chapter was chartered May 21, 1972, and became the first Greek letter organization for African American women in the history of the predominantly white campus. Under the leadership of the late Corrine D. Maybruce, who served as Southwest Regional Director, 13 young women joined Sandra Adams (Wilson), a model initiate/transfer student who worked diligently to assist in establishing the new chapter. The Alexandria Alumnae Chapter served as the sponsoring chapter and attended the chartering ceremonies. Sandra Adams was elected president of the newly formed chapter. The other charter members included Teresa Brown, Mae Alice Culbert, Regina Emanuel, Mary Hickman, Rhonda Holmes, Patricia Johnson, Vivian Johnson, Linda Jones, Cora Lewis, Donna Prater, Sandra Satcher and Patricia Sowells.
With the newly established chapter needing support and guidance, Edwina Lewis, a rare jewel, was chosen to provide the tutelage as Iota Mu Advisor. Demonstrating a full understanding of the African Proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” the inseparable team of G. Stanley Lewis, first advisor of Theta Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, and his wife Edwina shaped the lives of hundreds of college-educated women and men. In the spirit of sisterhood, alumnae gratefully acknowledge the 50-year journey with their loving brothers, Theta Delta Chapter of NSU, for their strength and encouragement.
Capturing a snippet of Iota Mu over the last 50 years, the chapter actively established a platform on NSU’s campus, through participation in campus organizations and activities including Pan-Hellenic, NAACP and Student Government organizations. Through the years, Iota Mu members served as club officers, were honored as Miss NSU and were listed among Who’s Who Among American Universities and Colleges, Purple Jackets, scholar athletes, honor society organizations and other leadership endeavors.
Author, editor and teacher Denise Lewis Patrick, an Iota Mu alumna, was inducted in the Long Purple Line in 2014, NSU’s Alumni Hall of Distinction. Since 1972, 47 collegiate lines with over 400 members have been initiated into the sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated through the Iota Mu Chapter, with the latest collegiates initiated in Spring 2021. The chapter has sponsored Jabberwock, awarded scholarships and participated in public service and community-wide activities such as volunteering at local childcare centers, donating to community food banks and tutoring at various schools and the local Boys and Girls Club. Programs have been implemented in several of the five-point programmatic thrust areas: voter registration, Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV), social justice reform, political awareness and training seminars.
Iota Mu continues to partner with Natchitoches Alumnae Chapter to serve the community in support of education, health, economic development and advocating for the rights of the most vulnerable. As pacesetters, Iota Mu alumnae have entered career fields that span the globe, represent every walk of life and positively impacting the hopes and dreams of millions. Iota Mu members serve in conflict and peace, protecting the freedom of the nation through every branch of service. They are officers, educators, doctors, nurses, attorneys, scientists, authors, elected officials, engineers, software analysts, city officials, school administrators, coaches, mayoral assistants, social workers, college administrators, law officials, etc. Iota Mu members have taken their places in society shaping the Christian principles and social action platform that honors Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s 22 Founders. Alumnae remain active in their lifetime commitment to Delta Sigma Theta, serving as officers, committee chairs and members at the national, regional, state and local level. Hundreds of members hold lifetime membership as Golden and Diamond Life members.
The sisterhood is proud to congratulate and honor the service of the Charter members of Iota Mu on their 50th year in Delta. This chapter has withstood the test of time because of the tutelage of its advisors. With gratitude and love Iota Mu bestow the highest honor of respect and esteem to Edwina Lewis, the founding advisor and a Golden Life Member for 25 years of commitment to nurturing young women. Lewis, a distinguished retired educator, advised the chapter from its chartering in 1972 until 1997. We are also indebted to the following advisors: Amanda M. Young, Brenda Fowler Milner, Judith Hayes, Yvette Garrett Ceasar Williams, Tan’Keia Palmer, Gail Walker Mitchell, Vickie Williams and Rene C. Lewis, Kenesha Coates, Chrystal Davis, Judith Hayes Walter, Cynthia Harmon and Brittany Broussard.
We further recognize the current outstanding members of Iota Mu who carry the Torch of Wisdom and applaud Ar’Nijah Bradley who serves as chapter president.
Theta Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity will also celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. A separate article will discuss the history of the fraternity and its impact at NSU.
Pictured in the 1973 Potpourri are Delta Sigma Thetas Sandra Adams, president; Teresa Brown, secretary; Regina Emanuel, vice president; Pat Johnson, Linda Jones, Pat Monroe, Donna Prator, Sandra Satcher, treasurer, and Patricia Sowells. PYRAMIDS – Shelia Cleveland, Leola Fisher, Rhonda Johnson, Beverly Miles, Clary Williams, Edwina Lewis, advisor, and Odell Brown, Man of the Year.
Group photos depict Delta Sigma Theta through the years.