Sunday, September 03, 2006

Delta Sigma Theta!

August 18, 2006

Gwendolyn Crump
202-986-2400, ext. 384


(left to right) Rita Waters, National Convention Coordinator, and Dr. Louise A. Rice, 23rd National President, pictured with Delta Sigma Theta award recipients Johnnie Walker, Michael Days and Joan Myers Brown. Walker, a recording industry executive, and Myers Brown, who founded the Philadelphia Dance Company, both received the Osceola Award, the Sororitys highest award in the arts. Days, who is editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, received the Lillian Award, which honors media professionals.Philadelphia, PA
( - Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., made a major commitment to three Historically Black Colleges and Universities during its 48th National Convention held in late July 2006 in Philadelphia. At the convention's public meeting program, Dr. Louise A. Rice, the Sorority's national president, explained that the Delta National Executive Board and its Hurricane Relief Task Force stipulated that major financial contributions be made to the HBCU's affected by Hurricane Katrina. Collectively $700,000 will be awarded to Dillard, Xavier, and Southern Universities over the next five years.

The recipient of the Delta's Distinguished Professor Endowed Chair Award for the 2006-08 biennium is Southern University at New Orleans. Dr. Victor Ukpolo, chancellor of SUNO, was in attendance at the Delta convention, where he received the first installment of $100,000 for the Distinguished Professor Award. Dr. Rice also announced that Dillard and Xavier Universities will each receive $250,000 over the next five-years.

More than 12,000 Deltas attended the biennial meeting held in Philadelphia for the first time in 85 years. The week-long meeting featured program initiatives and workshops in health, social action, economic development and the arts; award presentations; and special events. A current program initiative of the Sorority is the Lifestyle Change Initiative. The Sorority implemented it's first Lose to Win: Total Woman Healthy Weight Program which charts the course for Deltas and women in their local communities to maintain healthy lifestyles through proper nutrition, exercise regimens, and spiritual development. Dr. Rice stated that major emphasis is being given to decrease the incidence of obesity by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight in an effort to combat heart disease-the leading cause of death among women.

In addition to striving for good health, Delta convention participants also received updates on the Sorority's economic development program, Financial Fortitude which focuses on financial planning and financial literacy to empower sorors and community members to learn how to achieve financial goals. A major component of the economic development program is The Delta Challenge: Homeownership Initiative. "Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is resolutely determined to help empower African-Americans by providing tools and information that will enable them to become homeowners, an important aspect of wealth building," said the DST national president.

This year, the Sorority's highest award for outstanding service, The Mary Church Terrell Award, was presented to Delta member Elaine R. Jones, former director and general counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. A special recognition award was presented to noted attorney Frankie Muse Freeman, of St. Louis and former national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Freeman, a former member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, was recognized for exemplary leadership in civil rights and social justice spanning several decades. The Patricia Roberts Harris Medallion for Excellence in Government Service was presented to Mayor Marcia L. Fudge of Warrensville Heights, OH and a past national president of Delta, and to State Senator Diana Bajoie of Louisiana. Vice Chancellor Adelaide Sanford of the New York State Board of Education was presented the Althea T.L. Simmons Social Action Award. Other honorees included Michael Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, who received The Lillian Award presented to outstanding media professionals; Johnnie Walker, recording industry executive, and Joan Myers Brown, founder and director of the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), each received the Sorority's highest art award-The Osceola.

The next national convention of Delta will be held in Orlando, FL in 2008.

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