Alabama Panhellenic Association elects first Black president


Courtesy of the Alabama Panhellenic Association

Courtesy of the Alabama Panhellenic Association

Reghan Bailey, Contributing Writer

The Alabama Panhellenic Association elected Deborah Oberkor as its 2023 president. Oberkor will be the first Black woman to serve in the role in the more than 100 years since APA’s founding. 

According to its website, the Alabama Panhellenic Association is presently comprised of over 7,600 women. Until as recently as nine years ago, APA was exclusively white, with the only known Black woman to have received a bid being Carla Ferguson in 2003.  

In 2013, The Crimson White reported that APA sororities had systemically excluded at least two Black women during recruitment. The story garnered national attention and sparked a campus demonstration against segregation. Shortly afterwards, APA reopened its bidding process, beginning the integration of the predominantly white sororities exactly 50 years after the University was integrated. 

“Going through recruitment and then seeing different Black girls, people who looked like me, and feeling inspired to do it, because I never really knew if Alabama Panhellenic is something I could see myself in” Oberkor said. “Now being here is crazy, and I hope to be a face of representation because people seeing it is more than people can imagine.” 

Oberkor, a junior majoring in chemical engineering, is a member of the Zeta chapter of Kappa Delta, and is currently APA’s vice president of administration.  

She will formally take over as APA president on Nov. 15.