The year was 1997, and Northwest Arkansas was growing and changing in unprecedented ways. Among the more prominent changes was the growing diversity of the region. After supporting an undergraduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for many years, Dr. Margaret Clark, Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas, envisioned initiating a graduate chapter in the area. The vision began taking shape on October 4, 1997, when a meeting was held on the campus of the University of Arkansas to pursue that vision. At that meeting, the “Tea Rose Society” was formed and on January 17, 1998, Polly Sparks Turner, South Central Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., sanctioned the Tea Rose Society as an official interest group of the Sorority.
Members of the Tea Rose Society included Sorority members Margaret Clark, Cynthia Nance, Ulonda Crawford, Elizabeth Avery, Vickye Bass, Cora B. Davis, LaTrecia Hopson, Elizabeth A. Jordan, Elizabeth V. Jordan, Nikki Mayes, Delonia Minor, Gigi Secuban, Elecia Smith, Kimberly Wallace and the late Ernestine Gibson. This was a group of dynamic women with a variety of backgrounds and interests who came together because of their bond of sisterhood and their dedication to community service. Through the efforts of this interest group, Phi Alpha Omega Chapter was chartered on May 16, 1998.
Early service projects for the chapter included partnering with Habitat for Humanity and Community Emergency Outreach, participating in local coat drives, donating goods to non-profit organizations and initiating a school supplies drive for children in Africa. Several signature programs, continuing since the inception of the chapter, have become hallmark events within the Northwest Arkansas community. These signature programs include our annual scholarship fundraiser, which provides scholarships to deserving high school, college and graduate students and Women’s Day, which recognizes the accomplishment of professional and entrepreneurial women working to improve the lives of others within the community.
Since its inception, Phi Alpha Omega has continually served the needs of the Northwest Arkansas community through community service, fundraising, civic contributions, and youth mentoring. Today, this chapter is proud to be the fourth largest graduate chapter in the state of Arkansas and a member of the South Central Region. As we enter our seventeenth year of service, we are proud to be a sisterhood that provides support, scholarship and service to all mankind.