By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw
Cheryl A. Hickmon, the 27th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and Chair of the Board of Directors “transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022, after a recent illness”, the Sorority said.
Hickmon, a native of Hartford, Connecticut was elected the 27th president of the organization on November 22, 2021, at the sorority’s 55th National Convention in Atlanta, GA. Reflecting on Hickmon’s election as national president, immediate past National President and CEO of Delta Sigma Theta, Beverly A. Smith said, “That was a lifelong dream of Cheryl’s. We are so happy and blessed to know that God allowed her that; To reach that goal and that dream she had. She will be sorely missed by our organization that is for sure”.
Hickmon was initiated into the sorority through the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University. Dr. Tamara Jeffries-Jackson, Vice President of Student Affairs spoke of her matriculation at the university where she served as president of the undergraduate Delta chapter and as regional representative. “She epitomized the true meaning of a Delta Woman through her many acts of kindness and service to mankind”, Jeffries-Jackson said.
According to the sorority’s public statement, Hickmon held numerous positions within the organization at all levels of leadership. “When I say her name, I have to smile. You never met a warmer, funny lady. So dedicated to Delta and a true professional in the work she did”, Smith said.
Hickmon received numerous accolades for her work in the community; the Outstanding Accomplishments and Achievement Award from SC State University, the 100 Most Influential African Americans in the State of Connecticut from their NAACP chapters, and the Citizen of the Year Award from the Tau Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi. Professionally, Hickmon was a supervisor at Montefiore’s Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health.
Expressions of sympathy for the Hickmon family and the Sorority poured in from around the country. Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States led the national condolences for Hickmon, “Our hearts are with the members of the sorority she led, the community she served and all those who mourn her loss”. Representative Joyce Beatty, (D-OH), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus and a Delta Sister called Hickmon “a powerful leader, a force for social action, and a loving sister”. Representative Val Demings, (D-FL), also a member of the organization said, she was “devastated by the sad news”. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont called Hickmon a “valued member of our big Connecticut family”, and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin called the loss “heartbreaking”.
Leaders of the ‘Divine Nine’ and other organizations across the country also mourned Hickmon’s loss. Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, President of The Links, Incorporated offered support from the organization. “We will keep President Hickmon’s family and our Delta Sigma Theta sisters in our prayers and extend our love and support during this difficult time”, Jeffries Leonard said. Dr. Glenda Glover, President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated joined “Our sisters of Delta Sigma Theta in mourning the passing of their National President”.
The Sorority held a prayer service for its members, led by the organization’s national chaplain, Bishop Vashti McKenzie with over 20,000 Delta Sisters in virtual attendance. This is the first time in the history of the organization that a national president has died while in office. The National Chaplains Council of Delta held an International Day of Prayer in memory of Hickmon.
National Vice-President Elsie Cooke- Holmes, a close friend and colleague has become the National President of the Sorority, an interim role she fulfilled during Hickmon’s illness. The organization teemed with pride remembered President Hickmon as a “Devoted member of Delta Sigma Theta since 1982. She is remembered not only for her role as a leader but for being a colleague, friend, and most of all, sister”.
Hickmon, the daughter of the late Dr. Ned Hickmon and the late Consuella Anderson Hickmon is survived by her two brothers, Ned, and David, both of Hartford.