History of AAUW-Chapel Hill
March 15, 1923. What a memorable day! Mrs. Harry Woodburn Chase, wife of the president of the University of North Carolina, had invited college graduates to her home to discuss forming a branch of the AAUW, which had resulted from the merger in 1921 of the Southern Association of College Women and the Association of Collegiate Alumnae. Sixteen … women responded, electing Miss Louis Venable… as president. In 1927 the branch would become one of eight charter members of the North Carolina State Division.
The members agreed that the first goal should be ‘to do something for the women students of the university.’ Accordingly, they sought a physical education instructor for the women students and asked the architect to plan a basement room for physical exercise in new Women’s Building.
The branch was committed from the onset to community involvement…. The decade of the 50’s was called the education decade, and the 60’s the Arts. The branch emphasized not only university education but also that of the entire public school system.
One accomplishment of great pride was the establishment [of a loan fund in 1928 that later became a scholarship and was renamed] in 1950…the Carrie Heath Schwenning Award in memory of a dedicated member….The scholarship is awarded yearly to a deserving woman student enrolled in graduate school at UNC-CH.
Educational Equity in the schools has been [the Chapel Hill branch’s] focus of attention…We support the Association’s Educational Foundation, which awards Fellowship and Grants to individuals and branches, and the Legal Advocacy Fund, which aids women suffering discrimination. We’re thereby committing ourselves to the priorities of education and equity for women, a continuation of the original purposes and goals….
We’re proud of being members of the American Association of University Women.
Source: Clara B. Allen, North Carolina, AAUW History 1947-2001
Clara Allen lives in Pittsboro and is a member of the Chapel Hill Branch.