The Ascension Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. held a chartering ceremony April 19 in Gonzales.

The group’s formation started in 2008, when a group of women began meeting to form a chapter.

Promoting academic excellence and proving assistance to those in need were the founding principles of the group, a news release said.

Pamela Rogers, Delta Sigma Theta regional director, and Doris Brown, state coordinator, conducted the charter ceremony.

The Ascension Alumnae Chapter is a part of the Southwest Region of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The Southwest Region has more than 138 chapters located in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and the island of Jamaica.

“We are excited and committed to serve the residents of Ascension Parish,” said Hollis Baker-Graves, newly installed president of the chapter. “The Delta women within the chapter are professionals who live in Ascension Parish and can help make a difference in the various communities in the parish. We have accountants, educators, health professionals, lawyers and more. We have a lot of resources among ourselves to provide services to the community.”

Delta Sigma Theta was founded in 1913 on the campus of Howard University to promote academic excellence, to provide scholarships, to provide support to the under-served, educate and stimulate participation in the establishment of positive public policy, and to highlight issues and provide solutions for problems in their communities. Today, Delta Sigma Theta has over 250,000 members and more than 900 chapters worldwide.

The Ascension chapter’s officers include Michelle Henderson-Taylor, chairwoman internal audit; Kimberley Burgess-Smith, recording secretary; Syretta Davis Anthony, corresponding secretary; Tamiko Francis Garrison, second vice president; Gionne Price McClean, first vice president; Shunekia McAuley-Spears, treasurer; Veronica Jones-Bailey, financial secretary; Jennipher Valentine Williams, chair elections committee; Shawn Thomas, Chair, nominating committee; and Terry Washington-Joseph, budget committee.

For more information about the sorority, visit