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Region History

Great Great Lakes

Great Lakes Regional History

The proud history of the Great Lakes is built on the celebrated work ethic of members in the region and their intense love for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®.

This region’s story mirrors the struggles and gains of women and Blacks in our country evidenced by the move of our conferences from community housing to mainstream hotels. The intrepid women who have led the Great Lakes Region as Regional Directors also made their mark as pioneers in their careers and communities while serving Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

There are ninety-seven Alpha Kappa Alpha Chapters located in Michigan, Western New York, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia comprising the AKA Great Lakes Region. The Region’s first Undergraduate Chapter was Zeta, chartered in 1916 at Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio. Alpha Omega, the Sorority’s first graduate Chapter was chartered as Eta Chapter in 1917 on the campus of Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. The name was changed in 1922. Omega Xi Omega, New Haven Michigan, chartered December 11, 2016 is the region’s newest graduate chapter. Zeta Epsilon, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan, chartered April 29, 2012 is the regions’ newest undergraduate chapter.

The Great Lakes Region has hosted eleven National Boules since 1920: Cleveland, Ohio -1920, 1927, 1947, 1952, Columbus, Ohio -1926, Cincinnati, Ohio – 1931, 1959 and Detroit, Michigan – 1938, 1962, 1986, and 2006. The region has 28 Regional Directors, six of whom served Alpha Kappa Alpha as International Presidents.*

Great Lakes Sorors, through the years, have rendered unwavering support of Alpha Kappa Alpha programs. Through their tenacity and perseverance, chapters have demonstrated loyalty to the programmatic thrusts of the International Presidents.

Established: 1924 (initially as the North Central Region)

First Regional Director: L. Pearl Mitchell

First Regional Conference: 1931

Geography at Creation: Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Geography Today: Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Western New York

First Undergraduate Chapter Chartered: Zeta (Wilberforce College); 1916

First Graduate Chapter Chartered:
Eta Graduate (Cleveland, Ohio; name later changed to Alpha Omega); 1917

Undergraduate & Graduate Chapters at Creation:
Undergraduate Chapters – 5
Graduate Chapters – 3

Undergraduate & Graduate Chapters Today:
Undergraduate Chapters – 47
Graduate Chapters – 50

Region Highlights

  • Host to 11 Boules
  • Home of 6 International Presidents: L. Pearl Mitchell, 3rd International President; Margaret Davis Bowen, 9th International President; Beulah T. Whitby, 11th International President; Laura T. Lovelace, 13th International President; Bernice I. Sumlin, 19th International President; Eva L. Evans, 24th International President
  • Initiated the Tri-Community Founders’ Day Celebration, precursor to the Cluster concept
  • Home of the Cleveland Job Corps Center

A History of the Great Lakes Region – Every Chapter’s History Is Precious 1924-2010

Published and Copyright 2010, Editor-Octavia Walters Cabey

Learn More At The Great Lakes Region Site