Chartered on December 12, 1970, the Zeta Delta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first national Black Greek-Letter organization to be established on the UT campus. Philip Scheurer, director of Student Activities, explained in 1975 (when discussing the previous refusal to grant official recognition to two other black sororities) that the provisions of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made it necessary to find a way to accommodate Alpha Kappa Alpha in the Panhellenic Building and that inclusion removed the barrier to official recognition as a student organization. (The rule that no sororities would be recognized unless they had chapter rooms in the Panhellenic Building was changed in 1976 in accord with Title IX.) The sorority was founded in 1908 at Howard University, incorporated in 1913, and it is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by college-trained, African American women. It was founded as an organization of service, and its legacy of service is intended to deepen, rather than end, with college graduation.
The colors of AKA are salmon pink and apple green, symbolizing the abundance of life, womanliness, fidelity, and love. The tea rose is the flower, and the symbol is the ivy leaf. It has a variety of service projects, among them the Ivy Reading AKAdemy, which provides after-school tutoring for students in kindergarten through third grade. Its philanthropy is the American Red Cross. Annually, AKA sponsors the Jade Awards to honor student superlatives at UT, with the final Actual Jade award being a scholarship awarded to a high school essayist.
Alpha Kappa Alpha is represented in the Morgan Hill Sorority Village with dedicated space, for which it paid, on the second floor of the common building built by UT. The architect for their portion of the building was Red Chair Architects, and the contractor was BB Contracting. The cost was approved at $2,336,900.