Great Lakes Region 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®. It was established in 1924 and originally called the North Central Region.
The Great, Great Lakes Region’s story mirrors the struggles and triumphs of women and people of color in our country. We unite with other regions in upholding the vision of our Founders–servant leadership, scholarship, and service. Members are committed to improving our communities, our region, and our world through compassionate service “to all mankind.”
The Great Great Lakes
The region is comprised of ninety-six chapters located in the states of Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia. Chapters in Western New York and Western Pennsylvania complete the Region.
The thirty fearless 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. With passion and dedication, they share a strong legacy of service that has positively impacted our local communities.
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 later changed to Alpha Omega. The most recent undergraduate chapter is Upsilon Lambda, State University of New York at Buffalo, charted November 21, 2021. The region’s newest graduate chapter is Alpha Beta Beta Omega, Canton, Ohio, chartered December 5, 2021.
Always a wellspring of innovation – The Great Lakes Region has hosted eleven Boules since 1920: Cleveland, Ohio -1920, 1927, 1947, 1952, Columbus, Ohio -1926, Cincinnati, Ohio – 1931, 1959 and Detroit, Michigan – 1938, 1962, 1986, and 2006. Six of the Regional Directors have served as national (and later international) presidents of Alpha Kappa Alpha.
- L. Pearl Mitchell 3rd President
- Margaret Davis Bowen 9th President
- Beulah T. Whitby 11th President
- Laura T. Lovelace 13th President
- Bernice I. Sumlin 19th President
- Eva L. Evans 24th President
We proudly boast of being the region chosen for the site of the Cleveland Job Corps Center. The Great Lakes Region initiated the Tri-Community Founders’ Day Celebration which was a precursor to the Cluster concept. Recently we leveraged our donation efforts by moving to the top tier of largest EAF fundraisers among the ten regions.
Great Lakes members, through the years, have rendered unwavering support of Alpha Kappa Alpha programs. Members of the Great, Great Lakes embrace community service, civic engagement, scholarship, social action and empowerment. We are committed to being “Greater Together.”