Dr. Yvonne Kennedy 19th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dr. Yvonne Kennedy was born January 8, 1945 to the late Leroy and Thelma (McMillian) Kennedy in Mobile, Alabama. Dr. Kennedy dedicated her life to being a public servant, activist, and civil rights proponent; championing the causes of her community for over three decades. A native Mobilian, she received her elementary and secondary education in the Mobile County Public School System. She later went on to attend Bishop State Community College (then Alabama State College) where she received an Associate of Arts degree. Dr. Kennedy continued her education by receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Alabama State University (where she was crowned Miss Alabama State in 1965) and a Master of Arts degree from Morgan State University. Upon completion of advanced study at Columbia University, Dr. Kennedy matriculated at the University of Alabama, where she was awarded her Ph.D. in philosophy. Lane College, in Jackson, Tennessee awarded her with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 1988. Dr. Kennedy was a woman of many “firsts.” In 1979, she became the first African-American woman of Mobile County to be elected as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives. While in office, she chaired the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus and was elected as the House Majority Floor Leader. She also was the first African-American woman to be named the “First Lady of Mobile.” In 1981, Dr. Kennedy became the first African-American woman to be appointed to head a state college when she was named president of Bishop State Community College by the Alabama State Board of Education. She is revered for her outstanding contributions in educational and professional organizations throughout Alabama and the U.S. She served as Board Member of the American Association for Higher Education; member of America’s Junior Miss Scholarship Foundation, Inc.; and youth director for the Board of Christian Education, Southeast Alabama Conference. Dr. Kennedy was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in 1964 through the Beta Eta Chapter at Alabama State University. She served in several leadership positions on the local, regional and national levels. She served as chapter president for the Mobile Alumnae Chapter from 1970-1974 and 1978-1982. She served as the director of the Southern Region from 1974-1978. She held the office of National First Vice President from 1983- 88, before becoming the Sorority's 19th National President from 1988-1992. Her election into office was the first time in Delta’s, then, 75-year history that a member from the Southern Region was bestowed the title of National President. She currently serves as a member of the National Executive Board and is Co-chair of the Sorority’s Constitution and Bylaws Committee. During her tenure as National President, Dr. Kennedy continued the work of the previous administration and saw to the completion of renovations to Delta’s National Headquarters building while simultaneously increasing the organization’s global impact on the world. Under the theme, “Every Delta in the Delta House: Ignite a New Vision – Pass the Torch,” Dr. Kennedy launched the DelShares program, a capital fund campaign to maintain and sustain headquarters renovations and operations; and stressed reclamation efforts geared toward inactive members of the Sorority. Dr. Kennedy is most noted for implementing SCHOOL AMERICA – a reading literacy program providing pre-school orientation for parents and combating literacy issues – into the Sorority’s program initiatives in 1984. Under Dr. Kennedy’s leadership, Delta Sigma Theta launched three global health initiatives: Delta ADACE (Alcohol, Drug Abuse and AIDS Community Education) Project; Delta Immunization Project; and Project SMART (Seniors Medication and Record Tracking). Delta Sigma Theta and the Delta Research and Educational Foundation also received clearance for two delegate positions as United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) during her administration. Also during her tenure, Dr. Kennedy appointed Roseline McKinney as Executive Director of the Sorority, a position which she has held for over 20 years. Dr. Kennedy received “Citizen of the Year” awards from several local organizations including Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Alabama Interdenominational Seminary, Inc. Dr. Kennedy, born the 11th of 12 children, is survived by one brother, Joe L. Kennedy; two sisters, Floretta K. Moore and Brenda J. Kennedy; and the continued Delta legacy of a sister, a sister-in-law, eight nieces, and four great nieces. She also leaves behind a host of aunts, nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and sorors who will forever cherish her memory. s12 DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY, INC.
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