Meet Pi Rho Zeta Chapter
Updated: Jun 10
It was on Feb. 15, 1997 that five members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated united in an effort to establish a graduate chapter for the Grand Rapids, Mich. area. The Sorority issued them the chapter name of Pi Rho Zeta on March 10, 1997.
The next month, on April 26, 1997, the chartering ceremony took place at the 63rd Great Lakes Annual Regional Conference held in Fort Wayne, Ind. Sorors Tamasha James, Leonora Pickett, Merdis Harris, Nefta Smith and Soror Tamika Smith are the charter members.
The charter was established under the leadership of International Grand President Dr. Barbara West Carpenter, Great Lakes Regional Director Norma Cox Dartis and Michigan State Director Soror Mary Crew Lester. The women of Pi Rho Zeta Chapter are committed to keeping our Founders’ dream alive by being active and financial members, and attending monthly professional and social meetings. Our members also commit to providing annual academic scholarships to aspiring college students; donating time to service projects; advising our undergraduate sorors (Chi Xi Chapter at Grand Valley State University); and supporting educational and social organizations.
We are grateful to our illustrious Founders who 100 years ago envisioned a great sisterhood based on the principles of Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood and Finer Womanhood.
The women of Pi Rho Zeta are committed to continuing to build on our legacy of service by embracing National’s Z-HOPE, Zetas Helping Other People Excel, initiative that addresses the needs of the mind, body and spirit. Our chapter's work has chiefly targeted students, veterans, expectant mothers, women, families and educators.
We help raise funds for breast cancer by participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and collect financial donations to fight prematurity through our involvement in March of Dimes’ March for Babies.
Pi Rho Zeta Chapter further works to promote prenatal care participation and encourage healthy behavior during pregnancy through our Stork’s Nest located at The Deborah House Project, a home for expectant mothers in Grand Rapids.
We are strong supporters of education as well. Besides awarding college scholarships, our chapter has sponsored the “Unsung Heroes” luncheon to celebrate outstanding educators. We name Educators of the Year. We help students with our school supply drives for the Grand Rapids schools, and our youth groups serving the community.
Pi Rho Zeta Chapter addresses basic needs, too. We have donated toiletries to the Grand Rapids home for veterans. We have turned our attention to families around the holidays by providing them with gifts, and have collaborated on this endeavor with our brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated at times.
Pi Rho Zeta is also concerned about racism, equity and social justice. We hosted a showing of “The Hate U Give,” followed by a discussion involving adults and youth.
Note: This is part of the Michigan State Organization’s online series "The MSO Great History Countdown! Our Centennial Journey to State Meeting" to leave a lasting gift to the state in honor of Zeta’s 100th anniversary. Histories from every graduate and undergraduate chapter in Michigan is being published in the month of September 2020 in the days leading up to the centennial state meeting. The project was approved under State Director Lynese Thomas’ administration, and overseen by MSO Epistoleus Earlene McMichael in partnership with MSO Historian Trudy Hale and Great Lakes Region Historian Norma Dartis.