Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, class of 1979


In this interview recorded during the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion, Teresa Cheeks, Renee Hill, and Lori Hollins, members of the Brown University class of 1979, discuss their membership in the historically Black Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and how it impacted their lives during and after their time at Brown.

The interviewees begin by explaining their backgrounds and how they decided to attend Brown. Hill talks about growing up in Detroit and expecting to attend University of Michigan until a guidance counselor from another high school introduced her to Brown. Hollins covers her segregated high school in Cleveland, Ohio, and a visit from a Brown student recruiter. Collins speaks to growing up in Schenectady, New York, and the influence General Electric had on her decision to attend Northeastern University before transferring to Brown. They all go on to discuss the concentrations they expected to pursue, the value of the open curriculum, and the educational paths they ended up taking.

The conversation turns to focus on their pledges to Delta Sigma Theta. Cheeks, Hill, and Hollins, all mention the friendship, intellectual challenge, and dedication to community service as some of the best aspects of the sorority. They also emphasize the value and necessity of maintaining historically Black sororities and fraternities at Brown and worldwide. They briefly recall race relations and racial tensions on campus in the late 1970s before concluding the interview.


Recorded on September 22, 2018 in Pembroke Hall, Brown University, Providence, RI
Interviewed by Mary Murphy, Nancy L. Buc ’65 LLD‘94 hon Pembroke Center Archivist

Suggested Chicago style citation: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, class of 1979. Interview. By Mary Murphy. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. September 22, 2018.


Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a public service organization dedicated to scholarship, service and sisterhood with an emphasis on Black communities. Twenty-two dynamic Black undergraduate women founded the sorority on January 13, 1913 at Howard University. The Lambda lota Chapter was chartered in March 30, 1974 at Brown University. The Lambda Iota chapter dedicates itself to empowering the Black communities in Rhode Island.

Teresa Cheeks, Renee Hill, and Lori Hollins, established their friendship through this sorority. Cheeks earned her SB in material science and engineering, Hill earned her SB in psychology, and Hollins earned her SB in biomedical engineering. They all graduated with the class of 1979.