Local Sorority Endows Scholarship at ECC
The Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has endowed a scholarship at Edgecombe Community College that will support African American students from the Twin Counties.
The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded in 1913 by 22 collegiate women at Howard University to promote academic excellence and provide assistance and support through established programs. More than 107 years and 1,000 alumnae and collegiate chapters later, these fundamental missions still guide the organization.
The sorority contributed $5,000 to ECC to endow the scholarship, which is restricted to full-time African American students – male and female – who are residents of Edgecombe County or Nash County. Students must have been a legal resident of North Carolina for the past five years. They also must be able to demonstrate leadership in a community, religious, or ECC student organization.
Current students need a GPA of at least 2.75 to be eligible to receive the scholarship.
“We are a not-for-profit organization whose main purpose is to provide assistance and support in our community,” explains Barbara B. Smith, president of the Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter. “We’re all college-educated women, and we recognize the value of higher education. It is also important to us that we pay it forward.”
By endowing the scholarship, “we will be supporting students now and for years to come by helping them fulfill their goal of earning a college degree. We also are addressing economic development and community service,” she adds.
“The scholarship will provide financial assistance to help a student pursue higher education and ultimately obtain a degree or certification, leading to better employment opportunities and opportunities for community service.”
Delta Sigma Theta is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), a collaborative organization of historically African American, international Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities.
The Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is the first NPHC organization in the Twin Counties to endow a scholarship at Edgecombe Community College.
“We’ve always been a trendsetter,” Smith explains. “Our sorority members marched in the Woman Suffrage Procession in 1913,” a pivotal event that called for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.
Smith was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta in 1982 when she was an undergraduate at North Carolina Central University. “Membership is a lifetime commitment,” she says. There are 120 active alumnae members in the Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter.
Former ECC trustee Jessie Jones, who retired from the ECC Board of Trustees in 2018 after serving for 37 years, also is a longstanding member of the Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.
“We are proud to have members of Ms. Jones’ stature, members whose lives demonstrate the power and impact of education,” Smith adds. Jones is a retired educator.
“Many of our students struggle financially,” explains Lynwood Roberson, executive director of the ECC Foundation. “They work hard to be successful in their academics, but sometimes their financial needs are overwhelming and prevent them from fulfilling their dreams. We are grateful to the Rocky Mount Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for their commitment to higher education and to our students.”
During the 2019-2020 academic year, the ECC Foundation has funded $125,000 in scholarships benefitting 165 students.