The Fascinating Far Western Region
The Far Western Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® consists of chapters in nine states; Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, which constitutes the Sorority’s largest geographic region.
The natural beauty of these states run the gamut—from majestic snow-topped mountains and rolling hills, fertile green valleys, scenic vistas, magnificent sea coasts, enchanting painted deserts, exotic tropical islands and frozen natural glaciers to splendid mesas and plateaus, quaint towns, rambling ranches, historic mansions, bustling-cosmopolitan cities and everything in between—with the Pacific Ocean bordering all but four of them.
Phenomenal, exotic and diverse would paint the broadest, yet most defining brushstroke to describe the fantastic Far Western Region. It is known for earthquakes, volcanoes and giant redwood trees and home to both the historic Hollywood movie industry and the more recent Silicon Valley technology industry.
Alpha Kappa Alpha members who comprise the Far Western Region are a microcosm of the nation and of the organization at large. The region is fantastic, not only because of its unparalleled natural beauty and cutting-edge ideas and achievements, but because of its phenomenally creative and talented members who are well-noted for their avant-garde spirit and accomplishments.
Rho Chapter (University of California, Berkeley) – The Region’s First Undergraduate Chapter
The Far Western Region’s history began with Ida Louise Jackson, who would ultimately become the only member from the region ever elected as president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
In 1920, Jackson conceived the idea of organizing a chapter on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley for young Black college women. A “club” was formed, and the national Alpha Kappa Alpha office sent Inez Wood Fairfax to organize a chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area. On August 21, 1921, the Far Western Region was established when Rho Chapter was chartered. At its inception, the six chapter members were Coral Johnson, Virginia Stephens, Ruby Jefferson, Oreathial Richardson, Myrtle Price and Ida Louise Jackson, who served as the first president.
Sigma Chapter (University of Southern California)
The following year, in 1922, Sigma Chapter was formed on the campus of the University of Southern California by Marian Garrott Hall. Hall was an Alpha Kappa Alpha graduate member from Fisk University.
Sigma Chapter’s initial members were Leola Lewis, Ursula Puritt Murrell, Helen Wheeler Riddle, Corinne Stovall and Naida McCullough, who served as president.
Alpha Gamma Chapter (University of California, Los Angeles)
In 1925, Naida McCullough, serving as temporary Far Western regional director, established Alpha Gamma Chapter at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The newly formed chapter members were Hilda Johnson Craddock, Coral Gilmore Johnson, Florence Phillips, Juanita Raybouin and Clothilda Woodard.
The First Graduate Chapters
In 1927, Alpha Kappa Alpha’s first graduate chapter west of the Rockies—Alpha Gamma Omega—was chartered in Los Angeles. Charter members were Alice Garrott, Coty Johnson, Edith Jones, Louise Kenner, Leola Lewis, Naida McCullough, Ursula Murrell, Ruth M. Pearson, Vada Sommerville, Neosha Tatum and Minnie Wickliffe.
In 1929, the region’s second graduate chapter, Alpha Nu Omega, was chartered in Oakland, CA. Ida Jackson was a charter member and the chapter’s first president. In 1931, both Alpha Omicron Omega, in San Francisco, and Alpha Sigma Omega, in Phoenix, were chartered.