Cheryl A. Hickmon, beloved president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., passes away

Hickmon was elected president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., in November 2021

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Cheryl A. Hickmon, president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, died Thursday morning after battling a recent illness, according to an email obtained by theGrio.

The organization confirmed her death in a tweet.

“It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness,” the post read.

Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and National Past President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. spoke exclusively to theGrio’s White House correspondent and D.C. bureau chief April Ryan about Hickmon’s death.

“April, I just want to first off say thank you for recognizing this great loss we have experienced today. I’ve had the pleasure, the blessing of knowing Cheryl Hickmon since she was 19 years of age. We have served together for almost 40 years through our journey together,” Fudge said.

She continued, “Just never ever met a stranger; made everybody feel comfortable and she was so very solid in her commitment to bettering the lives of other people. She was thoughtful and loyal to a fault. She was that person that possessed that extraordinary Delta spirit of scholarship, sisterhood, and service that we all strive for. She will be greatly missed. Just an extraordinary and outstanding woman of God.”

This is the first time in Delta’s history that a president has died while holding the position. Fudge told Ryan that honoring Hickmon would be at the forefront.

“Our next steps would be to, number one, wrap our arms around the family; to see what their wishes are but certainly we will do our own service and give her the respect that she’s due not just as a Delta which is important of itself but she was a member of this very exclusive club — this very small club of Delta presidents and it is a club that is very difficult to get into, but once you are there, you have the favor of the entire organization. Hundreds of thousands of women have given you their favor.”

Hickmon was devoted to the sorority, pledging South Carolina’s Alpha Xi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta in 1982, according to Carolina Panorama newspaper. She graduated from S.C. State in 1984 and continued her lifelong association—an active member for 39 years with the organization that has prided itself on purpose and providing to others.

Cheryl A. Hickmon Delta Sigma
Cheryl A. Hickmon was elected national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. (Credit: Hickmon/Delta Sigma Theta)

Hickmon, a Golden Life member of Delta Sigma Theta, was elected as the 27th National President in November 2021. In doing so, she became the first alumnus of South Carolina State University to hold the distinguished position after having been a member of the Hartford Alumnae Chapter.

Hickmon’s passion for the sorority led her to also serve as Hartford Alumnae’s national vice president, national secretary, eastern regional director, South Atlantic regional representative, co-chair of the National Documents Review, and Revision Task Force, co-chair of the National Leadership Academy.

Her illustrious resume also distinguished her as president of the Hartford Alumnae Chapter and Alpha Xi Chapter. Tributes began to pour in on social media from Delta Sigma Theta members who remembered Hickmon fondly.

Rep. Val Demings, from Florida’s 10th congressional district, paid tribute to the late president on Instagram, writing, “As a member of @dstinc1913, I am devastated by the sad news of the passing of our beloved National President, Cheryl A. Hickmon. My prayers are with President Hickmon’s family, friends, and all members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.”

“Shock is putting it lightly. Rest in Power to the one and only Cheryl A. Hickmon, National President of my beloved Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Broken Unbelievable,” Virginia news anchor and DST member Anita Blanton tweeted.

“Our newly elected National President passed away Sending condolences to Madame President Cheryl A. Hickmon’s family and loved ones and hugs to my Sorors of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.,” one member tweeted.

“Life is but a vapor! My heart is broken hearing of the passing our our beloved National President Soror Cheryl A. Hickmon, but it is a quick reminder that tomorrow is not promised. Do your good deeds and give your flowers today. She served w/ excellence for many years. #cuesnews,” another member wrote.

The NAACP released an exclusive statement to theGrio on Hickmon’s death, saying, “The NAACP is saddened to learn of the passing of Cheryl A. Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Throughout her membership with the organization, she served in many capacities. From vice president to Atlantic regional representative, her dedication and commitment to seeing the legacy organization thrive were unmatched.”

“Among her accolades, she received the 100 Most Influential African American in the State of Connecticut by the Connecticut conference of the NAACP. The NAACP extends our thoughts and prayers to her family, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Hickmon’s death comes just as Delta Sigma Theta celebrated its Founders Day on Jan. 13, marking 109 years since 22 Black women came together at Howard University to establish a lasting bond of sisterhood, scholarship, and service. There are currently more than 300,000 initiated members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., with more than 1,000 charters worldwide.

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