The Mission of the Club shall be:
- To promote fellowship among members;
- To provide opportunities for participation in social, cultural and intellectual activities;
- And to provide financial assistance to students of the Penn State University.
For more than half a century, the University Women’s Club has responded to both the growth of the University and the changes in the lives of women. When the Pennsylvania State College was small and rural in 1928, the wives of faculty members and administrators along with the few female faculty members welcomed new arrivals and facilitated those women’s transitions into the community’s social life by founding a Newcomers Club.
By 1949, discussions about how to continue the social events and contacts established during the two years of membership in the Newcomers Club led to the organization of the Faculty Women’s Club with 345 charter members. A decade later the club had more than doubled to 740 members. By then the college had become The Pennsylvania State University. The faculty was expanding, and a major building program was underway. During this period of rapid growth, the social needs of increasing numbers of women continued to be met by the Faculty Women’s Club.
The Newcomer’s Club and the Faculty Women’s Club began joint programs and board meetings in 1971. In 1993, the name was changed to University Women’s Club to reflect the inclusive nature of the organization. In 1998, Penn State alumnae became eligible for membership.
In 1953, interest groups were initiated and included a Book and Play Review group, French and German conversation groups, and a bowling league. Forty years later, the selection had grown to more than twenty interest groups. Topics change in response to demand, but the number is fairly constant with twenty-six groups this year.
The Club’s programming has remained remarkably consistent over the years. The annual Fall Reception and the Spring Luncheon and Business Meeting still open and close the season’s activities. These Club events use the fine facilities of The Hintz Family Alumni Center, The Penn Stater Conference Center and the Nittany Lion Inn.
Other events of the Club have accommodated diversity and include lecture luncheons, square dances, dinner theater, and excursions to New York City, Eastern Pennsylvania, and shopping destinations. Each year new offerings mix with the traditional favorites.
Communication techniques among members have mirrored the times, with the trusty telephone and mail continuing as mainstays. The Newsletter was introduced in 1972, and our Website was created in 2000. It is our goal to conserve postage and paper by distributing Club information via web/email as much as possible in the future. Our Facebook page was established.
Club philanthropic projects have met varying needs. In the past we have supported an emergency fund for women students, contributed to the University’s Renaissance Fund (a loan for the brightest and neediest Penn State students), and purchased art for the President’s House. In 2001, the University Women’s Club Scholarship was established. In 2010, this fund became an Endowment Scholarship Fund and, in 2013, was fully endowed. The
purpose of this scholarship is to provide recognition and financial assistance to outstanding undergraduate and graduate adult learners at the University Park Campus. In addition, we provide a gift certificate for the purchase of textbooks to a State College Area High School student who plans to attend Penn State.
When Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1991, the University Women’s Club became one of the Big Ten Women’s Organizations and has sent representatives to the biennial conferences held in rotation at member schools. We hosted the Eleventh Biennial Conference with grand style and enthusiasm on June 10-12, 2005. Our members and the delegates from the other universities enjoyed the fine dining, interesting speakers, and the many treats and activities presented by our interest groups during this beautiful June weekend in Happy Valley.
The University Women’s Club enjoys a rich history of service to its members and to the University. As a dynamic force destined to be influenced by changes in society and the University, the Club will continue to provide opportunities for networking, intellectual growth, friendship and fun for the women associated with Penn State.