(directly from Soror Francine McCarley)

Greetings and Salutations Sorors,

It is indeed an honor and a privilege to participate in the celebration of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc Nu Beta Chapter‘s 35th Anniversary. We celebrate this chapter’s sisterhood, not just for its “chronological life” in years but also for its remarkable “journey” beginning with the discussions between ivy hopefuls in 1976 to the phenomenal award winning Sorors of 2014.

This journey has been highlighted by a "spirit of giving and service to mankind" as demonstrated by the first three ivies and the first line Avante Garde 20. These Sorors exhibited the pay it forward philosophy offering their time, talent and treasure without expecting to reap the benefits for themselves. In my case, after devoting three years to achieve Nu Beta chartering, eight months later my bittersweet graduation separated me from the chapter. The graduating Sorors were a living testimony to the words of AKA’s hymn stating “greater laurels to win, greater tasks to begin”.

From its inception, Nu Beta Chapter’s journey has been a labor of love for the sisterhood. Before there was any tangible proof that we would ever have a chapter, the Georgia Tech ivy hopefuls held on to the dream of “capturing a vision fair”. Typically these hopefuls would be called “prospects” on today’s college campuses.  However in 1976, with no campus chapter nor any immediate attention from AKA Graduate Chapters in Atlanta, we couldn’t even claim the lowest ranking of a prospect. That said, we persevered as in Alexander Pope’s poem…our hope springs were eternal!!!

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;

Man never is, but always to be blessed:

The soul, uneasy and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Nothing would turn us around, “not the two year wait for Kappa Omega graduate chapter to extend the call to Gail Reid, Reve Pete and myself for winter 1978 rush, nor the minimum 2.5 GPA that we had to maintain during the two year wait, nor the monumental task of having a minimum of 20 ladies on the first line to achieve the 25 Soror requirement to meet AKA’s national college chapter guidelines!!”.

Gail, Reve and I were like the marathon runners in the race to establish the first African-American sorority on Georgia Tech’s campus. Although the other ladies associated with the #2 African-American Sorority tried to sprint their way to the finish line with a surreptitious back dated national chartering ceremony that was devoid of any campus administrators or pan-hellenic involvement. In March 1978, Gail, Reve and I were the first to proudly wear our pearls as a testament to the pink and green legacy started in 1908. Our crossing was only the first leg of the marathon. AKA national’s unyielding high standards meant we still had miles to go to make our claim official. It would have been easier for the three of us to tabernacle at this plateau and selfishly cherish our pearls in neglect of the other future hopefuls. Instead we persevered and didn’t stop until we had an official chapter that could perpetuate the legacy. Our mission was accomplished April 14, 1979 with the morning crossing of Avante Garde 20 and the afternoon chartering of Nu Beta Chapter with Dr Dorothy Yancy (first campus advisor), Dean Priddy (GT Dean of Women) and Mary Shy Scott (AKA Kappa Omega Chapter) and others officiating . Lest anyone forget, the 1980 Blueprint yearbook hails Nu Beta Chapter as the first African-American Sorority chartered on Georgia Tech’s campus.

The support of our sisterhood leadership, along with the lessons of hope and perseverance, helped spearhead the culmination and establishment of another Georgia Tech organization named the Office of Minority Educational Development formed in 1979. Needless to say this skill set has served me well throughout my career working for Fortune 500 companies like General Motors Corporation, Delta Air Lines Inc, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and others. The scriptures affirm that “to he that much is given, much is expected”. Membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc is truly a blessing and “service to mankind” is a labor of love we all humbly accept.