It is with a heavy heart that, after many board meetings and discussions, I must announce that as of the end of the Spring Picnic on May 7th, 2021 the University Women’s Club will be dissolved. This was not an easy decision for your board to make, but despite extensive outreach to the membership, we had great difficulty filing board positions for 2021-22. The Nominating Committee could not find anyone to serve as Treasurer or President-Elect. An organization cannot function with such important board positions vacant. Five past presidents participated in discussion at the last two bard meetings as non-voting members.
Since 1912, the UWC has given women in the University community an opportunity to become better acquainted and to exchange information and ideas. In the 1960s, membership was as high as 400, largely wives of professors, most of whom did not work outside the home. Our 2021 membership is 82. We can all agree that women’s lives are busier than ever before, making it difficult to be involved in a group like UWC.
Several board members also observed that the club was really two groups: those who met for lunch and those who participated in the special interest groups. Very few members both attended the general program/luncheon meetings and participated in interest groups.
Although the interest groups have remained active, attendance at the program/luncheon meetings has been steadily decreasing over the past 4 to 5 years. Just before the pandemic, when we were able to meet physically and enjoy luncheons, the numbers attending were just 20 to 25, and nearly half of those were the 15 board members. Given the demands of their jobs, employed members are often unable to participate in the midday program meetings.
The Board has voted to take the club’s remaining funds and pay any obligations (honoraria, memorials, printing, and mailing) and give the balance to UT Scholarships through the UT Foundation using the existing criteria. Our Treasurer projects that when we close out our checking account, we will move approximately $5,500 to the Foundation for scholarships.
The Board anticipates that the six interest groups will continue and even add members if they have leaders willing to keep them going. Each interest group would operate independently.
A final yearbook for 2020-21 will be printed and mailed to all members. Our website will remain up for another year and then be archived. Moreover, Audrey Duncan, our historian, is already in the process of writing a book about the UWC and will cover the process of closing the club. Club minutes and the silver tea service will be archived in the library.
It is heartbreaking that we must dissolve, but with a dwindling membership and no candidates for President-Elect and Treasurer, this club cannot continue to function. It has been my pleasure to serve as your president, and I’m saddened that the organization will dissolve during my term, but there really is no other choice. This board has been supportive of all efforts to continue the University Women’s Club, and my thanks goes to each of them.
Dava Shoffner, President 2020-21
For over one hundred years the University Women’s Club has provided an opportunity for women within the University community to become better acquainted and to exchange information and ideas.
Through monthly luncheon meetings of the club and through interest group activities, women who are University employees or retirees, or wives of employees or retirees, as well as women with other affiliations to UT (see Membership), can meet and socialize across the boundaries of departments and divisions.
2019–2020 UWC Board
President: Dava Shoffner
Website/Social Media: Megan Venable
Immediate Past President: Regina Dean
Secretary and Holiday Event: Stacy Palado
Treasurer: Natalie Smith
Membership, Newcomers & Recruitment: Donna Eason
Hospitality: April Massengill (Kathy Lasater, flowers)
Programs and Interest Groups: Nancy Howell
Historian & Publicity: Audrey Duncan
Spring Luncheon: Debbie Woodiel (Raisa Killeffer, venue)
Newsletter: Lisa Carroll
A link to our past programs can be found here.