Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will host its 84th Central Regional Conference (CRC) in St. Louis, April 5-8. The four-day gathering is expected to bring over 2,600 attendees, fill 3,974 downtown St. Louis hotel room nights, and generate close to $2 million in direct economic impact to the region.
“To host the final conference of my tenure in St. Louis, where I am among family and friends, is a memory that I will forever cherish,” said Kathy Walker Steele, a resident of Belleville, who is in the final year of a four-year term as Central Regional director. “I am looking forward to showcasing the St. Louis metropolitan area and all that it has to offer.”
St. Louis is the birthplace of the sorority’s principal founder, Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, who graduated from Sumner High School in 1904. At 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, members of the sorority will gather at Sumner, 4248 Cottage Ave., to honor the life and legacy of Lyle by dedicating a wing of the school in her memory. An Ethel Hedgeman Lyle bench will also be placed outside of the school to recognize the sorority’s founder.
“During the program, we will also present a deserving Sumner High senior with a college scholarship,” said Steele.
St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams, Ward 4 Alderman Sam Moore and Aldermanic President Lewis Reed will join members of the sorority in the dedication program.
The sorority plans to leave its mark during a bevy of other community service activities. Those activities will include refreshing, renewing and restoring Tandy Park in the Ville neighborhood starting at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 5. Throughout the conference, backpacks and school supplies will be collected and distributed to St. Louis metropolitan area students through identified organizations and schools.
The public is invited to the sorority’s Public Meeting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 6 at the Marriott Grand Hotel, where local organizations whose services are in line with the sorority’s programs of service will be honored.
Following the conference’s theme of “Confidently Launching New Dimensions of Service and Sisterhood in the Gateway City,” sorority members from across the eight-state region will conduct the business of the sorority, which concentrates on implementing programs focused on five international targets. Targets include Educational Enrichment, Health Promotion, Family Strengthening, Environmental Ownership and Global Impact.
Distinguished women who boast excellent academic records, proven leadership skills, and involvement in local communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and the cities of St. Louis and Cape Girardeau will attend the conference, along with sorority leaders from throughout the United States.
Members of the first Greek letter organization for African-American women will be housed at the Marriott St. Louis Grand, Marriott Courtyard and Embassy Suites hotels in downtown St. Louis, with functions also planned at America’s Center.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has maintained a presence in St. Louis for almost 100 years with two undergraduate chapters and five graduate chapters in the bi-state region. The oldest chapter in the metropolitan area – Gamma Omega Chapter in St. Louis – was chartered in 1920 and is the third oldest graduate chapter in the sorority.
“The history of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in the metropolitan area is expansive,” said Steele. “We are going to ‘paint’ St. Louis pink and green as we go about conducting the business of the sorority, honor our founder and add to our historical record of service in the community. Our presence will be one that many will remember.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha last met in St. Louis for its74th CRC in 2008 and for their international conference in 2010.
For more information on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and its programs, visit AKA1908.com.