The Leesburg Alumnae Chapter is one of the many chapters of the sorority. After years of travel to Ocala and Gainesville for sorority meetings, a group of Deltas from the Leesburg area decided to organize a local chapter in Leesburg, Florida. As a result of their efforts, a chapter was established on July 9, 1977. Under the direction of then Regional Director, Yvonne Kennedy, the following women signed as charter members: Claranelle Bass, Eva S. Boyd, Shirley Clements, *Olivia Crawford, Debra O. Dabney Austin, *Ernestine B. Daniels, Denise Dixon (Kenzie), Grace Dixon, *Wilhelmenia Durden, Marian B. Edwards, *Hazel C. Miller, Ida Parham, Mamie Rolle, *Shirley Richardson, Karen R. Sapp, *Almeda Williams, *Corrine Williams, and Linda E. McDuffie. Signatures of National Officers appearing on the Charter were Thelma T. Daley, National President and Ruth Taylor, National Secretary.
Debra O. Dabney Austin served as the first president of the chapter from 1977-1978. Almeda Williams served as the second of the chapter from 1978-1979. In 1988, a fire destroyed all of the chapter’s record from 1977-1988. However, three of the charter members are currently active with the chapter and provided an oral history for 1979-1986. During the tenure of the 3rd chapter president, the chapter’s theme was Enlightening the Community by fostering educational, physical and mental health of community residents, and social action in the community. One specific project was Adopt-A-Kid. During the tenure of the 4th chapter president, the chapter initiated support for Special Olympics and provided scholarships for boys and girls to attend the Leesburg Boys and Girls Club. The chapter held several test taking workshops and took junior/senior high school students on college tours to the local HBCU’s. The first Little Miss DST Pageant was held to raise funds for the chapter’s service projects.
Under the leadership of the 6th chapter president, chapter projects included a Voter’s Registration Drive and a Health Expo focusing on physical and mental health within the African American community. The chapter continued its support of Special Olympics and scholarships to the Leesburg Boys and Girls club. During the tenure of the 7th chapter president, the chapter engaged in the beautification of the Virgil Hawkins Monument – a monument to local activist and lawyer, Virgil Hawkins, who was instrumental in breaking racial barricades at the University Of Florida College Of Law. The monument is located on County Road 470 in Okahumpka, FL. The chapter would go on to co-host a candidate’s corner with the Women’s League of voters. During the tenure of the 8th Chapter President lifetime membership in the NAACP was achieved for the Chapter.
Under the direction of the 9th and 11th chapter president, the chapter held its first May Week celebration honoring local pastor’s’ wives and area mothers as Unsung Heroes. The second Health Expo was held with an increased awareness targeting breast and colon cancer and its impact with the African American Community. During Breast Cancer Awareness month, chapter members distributed pink ribbons at area churches and other public places. The first HBCU Convocation was held utilizing local HBCU alumni to provide information about their alma maters to high school students. From 2001-2008, the chapter implemented the International Day of Service, the Delta GEMS program, and began its partnership with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Under the leadership of the 12th chapter president, the chapter’s official service area was changed from Leesburg to Lake and Sumter Counties. Two new programs were launched that focused on the organization’s Five Point Programmatic Thrusts: the Delta Expo and the Delta Christmas Party (Adopt-A-School). The chapter continued its support of Special Olympics, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and Social Action Voters’ Registration. Under the leadership of the 13th chapter president, the chapter launched its website with public access in an effort to keep the community connected with the chapter’s activities. The chapter transitioned from the Adopt-A-Family program to the Adopt-A-School program by providing school supplies, hygiene products, Christmas gifts, and dry/can food products. The chapter also partnered with The Haven House for Abused Women and Children and the Carpenter’s House providing assistance based upon the need of both.
The chapter is continuing its legacy of public concern and public responsibility. Its present is a public service movement with a past that is glorious and a future that is full of promise. The Leesburg Alumnae chapter is a constituent chapter of the dynamic Southern Region. Almost forty years after its establishment, Leesburg Alumnae Chapter celebrates its phenomenal accomplishments under the leadership of its past presidents and its current president. They are women– who when called to lead – dedicated their God-given talents to lead the members of the Leesburg Alumnae Chapter so that the chapter might positively impacts its communities.
These nine dynamic women and their faithful commitment to Delta and its mission continue to strengthen The Leesburg Alumnae Chapter to do the work with which we are charged as members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
LAC Past Presidents
|Debbra Snow 2011 – 2016|
|Judith Ramsey 2008 – 2011|
|Carole Spikes 2001 – 2008 1994 – 1998 1988 – 1990|
|Carolyn Samuel 1992 – 1994|
|Hazel Miller 1990 – 1992|
For more information, visit our Southern Region website www.dstsouthernregion.com