In 1997, Northwest Arkansas was experiencing unprecedented change—especially as its population grew and diversified. After supporting an undergraduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for many years, Dr. Margaret Clark, then an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas, envisioned creating a graduate chapter in the area. The vision began to take shape on October 4, 1997, when a meeting of Sorority members from Benton, Washington, and Sebastian counties was held on the campus of the University of Arkansas. At that meeting, the “Tea Rose Society” was formed, and, on January 17, 1998, Polly Sparks Turner, 20th 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 Dr. Margaret Clark, Elizabeth Avery, Vickye Bass, Ulonda Crawford, Cora B. Davis, the late Ernestine Gibson, LaTrecia Hopson, Elizabeth A. Jordan, Elizabeth V. Jordan, Nikki Mayes, Delonia Minor, Cynthia Nance, Gigi Secuban, Elecia Smith, and Kimberly Wallace. They were a group of dynamic women with varied backgrounds and interests who came together to foster their bond of sisterhood and demonstrate their commitment 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 Habitat for Humanity and Community Emergency Outreach partnerships, participating in local coat drives, donating goods to non-profit organizations, and initiating a school supplies drive for children in Africa. Since the inception of the chapter, Celebrity Waiter, the chapter's annual scholarship fundraiser, has become a hallmark event in the Northwest Arkansas community. As the chapter has grown, additional partnerships have formed. Some include community service efforts with the American Heart Association, The CALL NWA, all Northwest Arkansas NPHC graduate/alumni chapters, the Rogers Public Library, the Samaritan Community Center, Susan G. Komen, and most recently, Dress for Success NWA. The chapter has taken its collective in-person service abroad, traveling to South Africa in 2022 to partner with the Psi Tau Omega chapter in Johannesburg to enhance the educational environment and improve the literacy skills of elementary school students in the Diepsloot Combined School.
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 fifth largest graduate chapter in the state of Arkansas and a member of the South Central Region. As we celebrate our twenty-fifth year of service, we are proud to be a phenomenal sisterhood that provides support, scholarship, and service to all mankind.