The San Diego Alumnae Chapter has been an important part of the San Diego community for eighty years. The Chapter was chartered as Beta Mu on June 11, 1938 with Vivian O. Marsh, National President, officiating. There were seven members of the Chapter at the time Thelma Thompson, Mary Thompson, Ruth Allen, Minnie Lee Thomas Brown, Margie DeCosta, Henrietta Freeman and Lorraine Van Lowe Gholston. Lorraine Van Lowe Gholston served as the Chapter's first President.
Throughout the decades, the San Diego Alumnae Chapter has established many outstanding public service programs and events. In 1939, the Chapter's major fundraiser was a piano recital at Memorial Junior High School. Proceeds from the event funded local scholarships.
In the 1940s, National Programs were suspended due to World War II but by the early 1950s, chapter membership had more than doubled and San Diego Alumnae continued its mission of public service.
The Chapter hosted Job Opportunity Day at the YWCA in 1951 and was the host chapter for Delta Sigma Theta's Farwest Regional Conference in San Diego in June of 1953. In 1955, the Chapter received the "Fight for Freedom" award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Additionally, the Chapter began hosting Jabberwock pageants as its major fundraiser in 1952. Jabberwock continued successfully for many years.
During the 1960's and through the 1980's, the San Diego Alumnae Chapter hosted an annual Boat Dance. This project was a hit with the San Diego Community. Proceeds from this event went toward scholarships. Teen Lift was one of the Chapter's premier service projects during this period.
From the early 1970's until the mid 1980s, the Chapter's service projects included monthly visits and activities at Hillcrest Receiving Home for Children and the Community Hospital. The Chapter also made donations to the United Negro College Fund, the Urban League, participated in tutorial projects, "Women's Opportunity Week", Heritage and Art Boutique, Red and White Ball, May Week activities, Women Helping Women, and the Black Arts Renaissance Gala. The chapter also entertained during the UNCF Fund Drives and entertained servicemen at the USO and also hosted several showings of Delta Sigma Theta's motion picture, Countdown at Kusini starring Greg Morris, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
In 1977, Nu Upsilon, the city-wide undergraduate chapter, was established under the leadership of San Diego Alumnae.
The Chapter once again hosted a Regional Conference during this time period. The 33rd Regional Conference was held in San Diego in June 1980. The Chapter was also recognized at the 36th National Convention in 1981 for exceptional Membership Reclamation.
From the mid 1980s through the present, San Diego Alumnae has continued to carry the torch of service throughout the community.
The 1990s and the 2000s, the chapter continued to grow and serve the San Diego community. The chapter participated in Delta’s International Day of Service and Impact Day, gave over $10,000 annually in scholarships, collected coats for the homeless via the One Coat One Delta program, hosted the annual Black History Essay contest and worked to register voters in the community. In 2009, the chapter committed to raising awareness around human rights issues in Sudan and Darfur through workshops and created the first ever “Water-thon” fundraiser where participants carried buckets of water around a track to raise awareness around clean water issues in Africa. After 2 years of grassroots fundraising efforts and programming, the chapter raised over $5000 and partnered with A Drop In the Bucket to purchase a water-well in sub-saharan African that allowed for over 250 young girls to attend school instead of walking 4 miles each way to bring water back to their families.
In 2017, 62 years after being recognized by the NAACP, the chapter was once again honored for its continued commitment to service in the community. In 2018, the chapter hosted a women’s health forum focused on Uterine Fibroids and lobbyed for the passing of the resolution for California to recognize July as Fibroid Awareness Month sponsored by Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Weber. The City of San Diego made a proclamation declaring June 11, 2018 as San Diego Alumnae Day for the chapter’s 80 years of unyielding commitment to the San Diego Community.
Today, San Diego Alumnae has reached its highest number of member through reclamation efforts and is a force for change and advocacy in the San Diego Community, built upon a foundation of sisterhood. Members range from Sorors who crossed in 2018 to Sorors celebrating their 75th year as a Delta. Recent programs include Say Yes to the Dress prom dress giveaway, participation in the St. Judes Walk/Run, the San Diego Heart and Stroke walk, the annual Women’s March, Thanksgiving turkey dinner giveaway, annual Breakfast for MiLady, Delta Academy and Delta GEMS, a program focused on raising awareness of the experience of African refugees in the community.
As the oldest black greek lettered chapter in San Diego, San Diego Alumnae constantly evolves and innovates to provide programming and public service aimed at bringing light to issues affecting our communities.