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Des Moines

Chapter History


After Delta Chapter was established at the University of Iowa in 1919, the Grand Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta convened to explore the increase in the number of African American women attending colleges and universities. The decision was made to establish an additional chapter of the sorority in the state of Iowa and specifically Des Moines.

Adah Hyde Johnson, a charter member of Delta Chapter, was asked by Grand National President Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander to identify women who would be interested in forming a chapter in Des Moines. The National President directed Grand Recording Secretary, Soror Edna Morris, a student at Wilberforce University, to begin the organization of the chapter.

Phi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on December 29, 1923 at Drake University as a mixed chapter with both graduate and undergraduate members.

The charter members of Phi Chapter were:

△   Adah Hyde Johnson
△   Lillian F. Jacobs
△   Mary E. Wood
△   Enola Thompson
△   Viola P. Jones
△   Ethel M. Bowmer
△   Lillian Edmunds
△   Atty. Gertrude Rush (Honorary Member)

The Grand Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority grew and some changes were made, including one in the late 1950’s that called for the renaming of all alumnae chapters to the name of its city location, if there was only one chapter in the city. In the 1970’s, the Grand Chapter eliminated all mixed chapters, those with both graduate and undergraduate members. This change affected three mixed chapters in the Central Region; Phi Chapter included. Only July 1, 1981, the Collegiate Phi Chapter was chartered and the Des Moines Alumnae Chapter took its new name.

Past Presidents

Robin Jenkins
2017 – 2021

Valencia V. McCown

2013 – 2017

Mary L. Wells

2011 – 2013

Mary Lynne Jones

2007 – 2011

Carline Philips

2005 – 2007

Vallery Griffis

2001 – 2005

Marginell Powell

1999 – 2001

Renee Hardman

1995 – 1999

Tammy Diggs-Tate

1993 – 1995

Michelle Parker

1991 – 1993

Sandra Allen

1988 – 1991

Barbara Woods

1986 – 1988

Sande Bell

1983 – 1986

Frances Colston

1981 – 1983

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