The Baltimore Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority honors their 52nd president, Joanne S. Mack who died on Oct. 15. (Photo by Morgan State University)

By Catherine Pugh,
Special to the AFRO

The Baltimore Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority lost 52nd President, Joanne S. Mack, on Oct. 15. 

Mack succeeded President Arlene Wongus, who served as the 51st president of the chapter, which began on March 22, 1922.  It was announced that she would lead the chapter on July 1 of this year.

In celebration of her death, the chapter held a zoom prayer service in her honor.

Among the speakers was Bishop Vashti McKenzie, who reminded the over 300 members of Delta Sigma Theta on the Delta zoom prayer-line to recall how President Mack lived.  

“She fought the good fight,” said Bishop McKenzie. “So we must remember her brave leadership.”  

Joan Wharton, D. Min, led the prayer service.

Soror after soror praised Mack and asked that everyone embrace the family. The Sorority women also encouraged support of the incoming leadership of the Baltimore Alumnae Chapter, under the direction of first Vice President, Geraldine Alston Finch, who must now carry the banner moving the organization forward.

“Joanne Mack really wanted to lead the organization so strongly even though she knew of her illness,” said Roslyn Smith, the 44th president of the Baltimore Alumnae Chapter. “She was under treatment and all the past presidents– including Michelle Emery and I– supported her through her presidency.”

Smith said Mack “was monitoring her health and doctors led her to believe she would be better by July, and she was.  The last three weeks were her hardest, as her health took a turn for the worse.  She was a good person and a good leader.” 

“I am sorry she did not get to see all her ideas come to fruition,” Smith continued. “Our hope is that programs President Mack worked on–including the Capstone Project, focusing on women who are re-entering the community– continue. She was a compassionate leader.”

Thelma Daley, Ed. D,  the 16th National president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, remembered Mack as an impactful leader for the youth.  

“She served as a long-time advisor to Coppin State University‘s Zeta Epsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.  She instilled in those young ladies dignity, grace, and the importance of community involvement,” said Daly. “Joanne invested her knowledge and shared great wisdom as she carried out the whole idea of never leaving anyone behind and never believing that anyone among us was the least.  I was there with her. I saw her work long before she became our 52nd President.  I installed her as our 52nd President and that was an honor.” 

A memorial service will be held for Mack on Dec. 4 at 1 pm inside of Morgan State University’s

Calvin and Tina Tyler Ballroom. 

Joanne S. Mack was a 1978 graduate of Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a life-time member of the Morgan State University Alumni Association.  President Mack’s mother was a nurse, and her father James Mack was a former 1970-71 CIAA Championship swim coach at Morgan State College.

This article has been updated to reflect the title and correct spelling of Thelma Daley, Ed. D. Information about the memorial service has also been added.

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