The purpose of this branch shall be to unite graduates of regional accredited colleges and universities in order to promote equity, education, intellectual growth, individual worth, and development of opportunities for women and girls.
The Wilmington Branch of AAUW was officially organized May 12, 1954, with fourteen charter members. The first meeting was held September 9, 1954, at St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church. There were 33 members and the dues were $5.00. The speaker at the first meeting was the state president, Mrs. Carl A. Plonk. Her topic was “Introduction of AAUW.”
In 1954, the pool of women in Wilmington eligible for membership was somewhat limited. During the early years, the majority of members were in the teaching profession. Until the 1950’s only women with specified degrees from colleges and universities that met the Associations’ requirements for membership were eligible to join any branch.
In 1955, the fledgling branch agreed to invite the state convention to Wilmington in 1957. Through the years, the branch has hosted three successful state conventions.
The branch has had interesting, informative, and timely programs. Various projects have been undertaken to raise money annually for the Fellowship Fund, now called the Educational Foundation. In earlier years, there were rummage sales, bridge tournaments, and used book sales. In 1970, the Wilmington Branch participated in a national fundraiser, which was the sale of cookbooks that contained recipes from members throughout the country. The current project, “An Afternoon Tea with Carolina Authors,” has been most successful.
The Wilmington Branch has provided numerous state officers and committee chairs. Our own Mimi Cunningham served as state president from 1984 to 1986.
During these many years, the branch has had outstanding and dedicated leadership, resulting in a successful, flourishing organization.
Jo Chadwick is our only charter member since 1954 and is still active.