Eta Chi Zeta Chapter History
In 1973, several Zetas sought to formulate a chapter in the Joliet area. The initial meeting took place at the home of Soror Rhodell McFadden. Among those present were Sorors Lee Ivory Lee (Grambling State University), Bernice Johnson (Jackson State University), Janice Wood (Bowie State University), Priscilla Thompson (Alcorn State University), Dorothy Gee (Philander Smith), Catherine Rance (Alcorn State University), Geraldine Knight (Alcorn State University) and Mattie Hargrow (Alabama State University). With the assistance of Zeta’s Headquarters’, they began the process to form an official charter.
In the autumn of 1973, Rhodell McFadden was elected as the first President of Eta Chi Zeta Chapter. Months later, Sorors Helen Jones, Genice Jones-Kibby, Andrea Green and June Bridges joined. In early 1974, a “rush” was held for new members. Inducted in the summer of 1974 were: Sorors Celeste Evans, Geneva Harris, Gloria Arrington, Juliette McSwine and Gertha White. Other members joined either through induction or transfer. Most chapter members were educators within the Joliet community. This, in turn, led to Eta Chi Zeta assisting with numerous literacy programs within the Joliet Public School system.
The chapter participated in the Joliet Pan-Hellenic Council, where all eight Black Greek Letter Organizations, were participants. Eta Chi Zeta sponsored and supervised the Undergraduate chapters at Lewis University and Aurora University. Founders’ Day and Finer Womanhood Week were celebrated at Saint Marks Church, in Joliet, for several years. They were very active in the community and hosted luncheons and fashion shows. From 1974 through 1986, Eta Chi Zeta supported the community annually, by giving away holiday food baskets. The chapter also held several Blue and White Formal events that were very popular and well attended in and around the Joliet area.
Sadly, Eta Chi Zeta went into limbo during the late 1990’s. But in the early months of 2005, fourteen highly motivated, determined Zeta Sorors gathered to re-establish the Eta Chi Zeta legacy. These 14 Sorors, Christina Bradley, Tameka Bufford, Chauntine J. Dorame, Felicia Hinton, Tracye Holliman, Leza Holtz, Marlita Ingram, Doris Jackson, Shontrese King, Nichole Lang, Nikki F. Mitchell, Jacqueline O’Donnell, Charlene Vincent and ShaVonne West worked tirelessly to obtain the reactivated charter. On April 6, 2005, they were officially rewarded.
Eta Chi Zeta – “A Chapter of Masters” will be forever etched in the history of Zeta, by being the first 2020 Centennial Diamond Donor Chapter. Members have been elected or appointed to International, Regional and State Officer positions, produced coast-to-coast fundraisers and have won numerous awards. For our community service efforts, Eta Chi Zeta placed 3rd in Service / ZHOPE at the 2016 Boule’ in Orlando, Florida.
Since 2005, Eta Chi Zeta has been impactful in the community by working with the Joliet Boys & Girls Club and hosted various Financial Literacy and Prematurity Awareness Workshops. The roadway on Briggs Street, in Joliet is the official Adopt-a-Highway route. We have partnered with Catholic Charities-Joliet, the Morning Star Mission, and the Daybreak Community Center to provide exceptional service to those in need. Annually, we have donated funds and worked with the March of Dimes Walk America/March for Babies, donated to the Take Back the Night Walk to end Domestic Violence Program, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness, and the Walk to End Lupus. Members of Eta Chi Zeta have spent countless hours at retirement homes hosting Veterans Day celebrations, Ice Cream Socials, Valentine’s Day, and Bingo themed parties.
Today, with over 80 members, the women of Eta Chi Zeta are dedicated to making a positive impact in the community through our everyday actions of promoting the sorority's principles of Scholarship, Service, Sisterhood and Finer Womanhood.