See if you recognize anyone on this page from the 1965 Savitar.
Fifteen women, 12 shown here, made history Nov. 14, 1964, when, after years of planning and organizing, the Pearl Club special interest group became Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first African-American sorority at MU. In November 2014, AKA sorority sisters returned to campus for the Delta Tau chapter’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Peggye Hill Mezile
Columbia was not a welcoming place when Mezile, BA ’67, was a student. She couldn’t eat everywhere she wanted. When her white roommate first walked into their room, she promptly walked back out, and Mezile never saw her again. That’s why AKA was so important. “You needed that group to survive. The sorority was a support system for us.” She remembers pajama parties, service projects and pizza dinners. Mezile, who worked in adult outpatient services for many years, lives in Edina, Minnesota, and is the AKA graduate adviser at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Mable Jones Grimes
Grimes grew up in the small town of Malden, Missouri, but she had a big-time personality. Selected to represent Johnston Hall in a best-dressed contest, Grimes sent her mother patterns from Vogue to make her a suit and sought lessons from a ballerina dorm mate on how to walk properly. She placed in the top 10, but her newfound knowledge didn’t help during AKA’s step shows. “They put me on the end of the line because I wouldn’t do the steps right, but I had fun.” Grimes, BS HE ’65, MS ’68, PhD ’76, served as AKA’s graduate adviser at MU for 20 years and worked for the university for 37 years, the last 25 as a 4-H Youth Development Specialist with MU Extension in Columbia.
Sandra Whayne Gautt
Gautt, BS Ed ’65, M Ed ’66, PhD ’77, a native of Kirkwood, Missouri, made a point to embrace the larger university community by participating in Homecoming and Greek Week. “The chapter wasn’t interested in isolating ourselves from the campus community. We were just another part of Greek Life at Mizzou.” Gautt’s career in higher education administration was influenced by her experience working with MU and AKA administrators to bring the sorority to campus. She spent 18 years on the faculty of MU’s special education department before moving to the University of Kansas in Lawrence where she taught and served in various administrative appointments before retiring in 2013.