Meet Theta Delta Chapter
Updated: Sep 6
Theta Delta Chapter was preceded on the Wayne State University campus by Omega Alpha Chapter in 1941. Omega Alpha was the first Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated undergraduate chapter in the state of Michigan. Thirty years later on May 22, 1971, 15 women chartered the Truly Desired Theta Delta Chapter at Wayne State. Beta Omicron Zeta in Detroit is its graduate chapter.
The charter members are Lillie Evans-Pierceson, Linda Nash-Brumitt, Susie Atkinson, Constance Gaskins, Regina Bell-Baker, Gracie Brown, Gwen Winfrey, Edna Brock, Marsha Vaughn, Patricia Charles, Charlene Johnson, Jacqueline "Jackie" Marshall-Nelson, Sheila Phinaz, Joanne Sullivan and Brenda Friday.
Theta Delta has participated in a plethora of national Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Others Excel) projects. During the 2014-2015 sororal year, the chapter received third place Great Lakes Region Z-HOPE Award and placed second the following year in this category. Theta Delta takes the sorority’s motto, “a community-conscious action-oriented organization,” to heart.
Being in the city of Detroit, the chapter has developed relationships with various community organizations. Theta Delta has maintained the same Adopt-A-Highway location since 1992. The chapter originally adopted the area of 6 Mile through 8 Mile, which is now known as the intersection of Woodward Avenue and 7 Mile in Wayne County. Chapter members and volunteers clean the highway four times a year.
Other community service projects and partnerships include Salvation Army Bed & Bread, holiday cards for senior citizens, Focus Hope and Alternative for Girls. From 1988 to 1992, Theta Delta facilitated programs with Cradle Care at Children's Hospital. Annually, the chapter, along with volunteers, participates and donates to walks such as March of Dimes, Komen Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk, Relay for Life and others.
The Community Baby Shower, hosted by the Theta Delta Chapter to benefit the local Zeta Stork’s Nest, is one of the most prominent events of the year. This event is open to students of Wayne State as well as other community members. Guests are entertained with typical baby shower games and decor. Guests can donate money or baby essentials (bottles, diapers, clothes, wipes, etc.) for entry to later be donated to the local Stork’s Nest. In 2011, Theta Delta was awarded Zeta Stork’s Nest Award at the state level.
Our members have won countless scholarship awards. This includes the Beta Omicron Zeta Undergraduate Scholarship Award. Past recipients are: Soror Alexandria Conley in 2004, Soror Eboni Turnbow in 2009 and 2010, Soror Gwendolyn Morgan in 2014-2017, Soror Kiera Kinsey in 2018, Soror Alexis Davis in 2019, and Soror Alexis Brown in 2020.
Soror Tamaria Dewdney was the recipient of the Great Lakes Region Ida B. King Memorial Scholarship, as well as the Soror Francis Faithful Michigan State Organization Scholarship, in 2009. Soror Eboni Turnbow was the recipient of the Great Lakes Region Ida B. King Memorial Scholarship in 2015, the Soror Francis Faithful Michigan State Organization Scholarship in 2016 and the Z-NEF Mildred Carter Bradham Scholarship in 2018.
Soror Sha-Tai McConico was the regional Ida B. King Memorial scholarship recipient in 2014. Soror Gwendolyn Morgan has received the Michigan State Organization Cassandra Bronson Undergraduate Scholarship in 2016 and the Kappa Rho Zeta Chapter Dove Foundation of Michigan Scholarship in 2017.
Every year, the chapter hosts a Founders’ Day dinner in the metro Detroit area for all current and past members. At the dinner, members reflect on the years, share stories and enjoy one another’s company. In 2020, for Centennial Founders' Day, many members met in Washington, D.C. for lunch to celebrate the monumental date! We made sure to leave our mark while celebrating Centennial through service, attendance and donations.
Soror Eleasha Counts served as the National Centennial Co-Project Manager for the national celebration. Soror Eboni Turnbow participated as an Estate Donor with the national Centennial Visionary Campaign. Collectively, the chapter donated to the Monument at Howard University having Theta Delta Chapter etched into the new monument.
Theta Delta traditionally commemorates the last full week in February into March for Finer Womanhood Week. Events take place Monday through Thursday. Since 2009, the chapter has hosted a free formal event with live music, cake and loads of fun. The Cake Soiree, formally known as the Cake Concert, has gained in popularity through the years as the culminating celebration to Finer Womanhood Week.
As an extension of Finer Womanhood, we began hosting the Blacka Da Berry (BDB) step show in 1995 to showcase the history of the Divine Nine. The Cake Soiree and BDB continue to grow in notoriety. Consequently, the Cake Soirée has been moved from the Ballroom to St. Andrews Hall on campus, and BDB to Fillmore Detroit in downtown Detroit.
Zeta /Sigma Projects
From Oct. 24-26 in 2019, Theta Delta Chapter and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, Gamma Iota Chapter hosted a Blu & White weekend for Wayne State University’s campus. The weekend consisted of a study table, movie night, roller skating and community service.
Local, State, Regional Recognitions
Wayne State University awarded Theta Delta with “Student Organization of the Year” out of 400-plus organizations on campus in 2003-2004. Soror Alexandria Glenn was one of the founding members of Wayne State’s National Pan-Hellenic Council in 2002-2003. WSU NPHC awarded Soror Eboni Turnbow “Soror of the Year” in 2009 and 2010, Soror Alana LaGrande “Soror of the Year“ in 2011, and Soror Shelly Thornton “Soror of the Year” in 2012. Theta Delta was also awarded “Chapter of the Year” in 2011, 2012 and 2017 by the WSU NPHC.
At the state level of Zeta Phi Beta, Soror Gwendolyn Morgan was named Michigan State Organization Chapter Basileus of the Year for the 2014-15 sororal year. In the 2015-16 sororal year, Theta Delta received the Undergraduate Chapter of the Year Award from the state. In 2015, Theta Delta won the Exceptional Program of the Year at the Undergraduate Luncheon for the Blacka Da Berry Step Show.
At the regional level, the chapter received first place for Undergraduate Chapter Report for chapters with 10 members and less, plus second place for Undergraduate Scrapbook Award, for the 2013-2014 sororal year; and Soror Morgan was named Undergraduate New Member of the Year. For 2014-2015, Theta Delta won third place for the Undergraduate Chapter Scrapbook at the regional level. For 2015-2016, Theta Delta won third place for Chapter Report for the undergraduate chapters for 10 members and less as well as third place for the Undergraduate Scrapbook; and Soror Jennifer McNeil was named Soror of the Year.
Zeta Leaders and Trailblazers
Soror Eleasha Counts is currently serving as the National Project Manager for the redesign of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority national website (2020). Soror Joyce O’dongo has served as a regional and national officer. Soror O’dongo served as the Undergraduate Member-At-Large for the Great Lakes Region from 1994-1996 and as the National Graduate Member to the Executive Committee from 1996-1998.
Soror Nikki Cummings was the first webmaster for the Michigan State Organization from 1996 -2006 (the domain was then michiganzetasorg; it is now msozetas.org). She was also appointed regional webmaster by Soror Ira Ebbs. Soror Wanda Dixon Gillespie was the first from our chapter to be Undergraduate Member-At-Large for the state of Michigan and Undergraduate Member-At-Large for the Great Lakes Region.
Soror Eboni Turnbow served as the Michigan State Organization Tamias Grammateus from 2014-2018, as well as on the MSO University planning committee in 2013. Soror Tamaria Dewdney served as the MSO Phylacter from 2011-2013, as well as MSO Undergraduate Member-At-Large from 2007-2009. Soror Nailah Hall was MSO Undergraduate Member-At-Large from 2014-2015. Soror Jennifer McNeil served as MSO Undergraduate Member-At-Large from 2015-2016.
Life members are Sorors Regina Bell-Baker and Eleasha Counts.
Legacies are Soror Regina Bell-Baker, Marsha Vaughn, Jackie Marshall-Nelson and Alexis Brown.
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.