Brief History of AAUW of Colorado (1927 – 2020)
Colorado Division American Association of University Women
Reference sources: Colorado 75 Year History 1926-2001 – Betsy Loague 2002; Colorado AAUW 2001-2008: The Sanderson Fellowship – Betsy Loague 2008; (“Originally the term Division was used to designate individual states, thus Colorado Division.” Loague 2002.)
1927: First annual Division convention held September 24th at Denver’s Y.M.C.A.
1928: Colorado Division voted to join other states in pledging $30,000 for the Rocky Mountain Unit of the “Million-Dollar Fellowship Fund.” The unit was later named for Dr. Florence Rena Sabin.
1931: First official Division publication the “NEWS LETTER.”
1939: Association Convention held at Denver’s Shirley-Savoy Hotel. Red Rocks venue used for the first time for the convention’s pageant entitled “Yesterday’s Woman.” More than 1,800 women attended the convention.
1940: Division president began visiting branches in the state. Dues rose to $0.25 to assist in president’s expenses.
1940: Colorado ranked 46th of the 48 states in educational funding. Division’s legislative committee looked into the state’s current educational financial funding. Colorado Division assisted in the organization of a “War Service Committee.” 1943 and 1945: National Conventions cancelled due to WWII. Beginning of State Presidents’ Conference held in DC.
1949: AAUW accepted women graduates of any eligible college. Prior to this, membership was composed almost entirely of women with advanced degrees.
1951: After twenty-five years, there were 24 branches and 2,291 members.
1955: AAUW members were instrumental in the passage of Colorado’s Public School Foundation Act, and legislation relating to “old age assistance.”
1955: The AAUW Educational Foundation was established.
1959: Unveiling of the statue of Dr. Florence Rena Sabin in Statuary Hall in DC. Later the statue was removed and was not reinstalled until 1996, when Denver’s Congresswoman, Pat Schroeder, requested its return.
1963: Colorado hosted its second Association convention.
1964: First Legislative Workshop held, which would later be renamed Public Policy Day.
1967: Colorado AAUW had 2,700 members.
1971: Denver Interbranch Council was organized. Association overwhelmingly endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment and passed a resolution to “work for the repeal of restrictive laws on abortion, making abortion legal for those who wish it after medical consultation.” (Loague ‘02)
1972: AAUW became an important voice in the coalition promoting Title IX.
1978: May 5th blizzard convention in Colorado Springs.
1979: Supported the Ratification of the ERA Amendment and, in conjunction with other coalitions, aided in the development of the Virginia Neal Blue Resource Centers for Colorado Women.
1979: Colorado AAUW had 30 branches and 3,065 members.
1980: Received a $2,000 American Public Service grant from Educational Foundation Program for a project entitled “Helping Communities in a Changing State.”
1982: Colorado Lobby Corps was founded.
1983: Legal Advocacy Fund became a permanent fund. Denver Interbranch Council hosted “Perspectives For Peace.” Keynote speaker, Dr. Ved Nanda, stated “AAUW is one of the most influential non-governmental organizations.”
1986: VoLT was begun and Judy Sanderson, Colorado Springs, was one of sixteen women to conduct these workshops nationwide.
1987: Association convention voted to admit men as members.
1988: Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Established and seven Colorado teachers receive fellowships under the fund.
1994: Young Leader Award established. Renamed Judith C. Sanderson Young Leader Award in 2009.
1995: Began annual award of $100 to a middle school girl at the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair at CSU. Project must be entered in the fields of mathematics or computer science at the Junior Division level. 1990s Colorado branches continued their work with Girls Count and the “Expanding Your Horizons” program. Five Colorado members either held Association positions, or served on Association committees.
2000: COAAUW.org: Colorado AAUW’s website became a reality.
2002: Colorado AAUW began funding the Judith C. Sanderson Fellowship which, when completed in 2008, totaled over $125,000.
2006: Legacy in Leadership Award established. To be presented to outstanding woman in each of six member states at biennial Regional Conventions.
2008: Started distributing State Bulletin electronically.
2009: The Canon City state convention was held at the town’s Holy Cross Abbey, a former monastery. New bylaws passed at National Convention; Association and Foundation boards combined; terms “Association” and “Foundation” abolished; “One Member, One Vote” replaced delegate system. $tart $mart workshops were being presented on Colorado college campuses.
2010: Established Facebook page: AAUW in Colorado. Received second Impact Grant to be used to educate the public on ballot and election issues on Facebook. Set up Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, and blog power social media links.
2011: AAUW Programs changed to AAUW Funds, covering scholarships and financial programs. Member appointed to National Board of Directors.
2012: Live streaming done during portions of state convention. National offers free state and branch websites using Site Resources; Colorado and many branches became members. Auditors report National on sound financial footing.
2013: The Colorado eNetwork Branch held its first Webinar meeting. Durango state convention held at the Sky Ute Indian Casino and Resort in Ignacio. A new AAUW logo was introduced.
2014: Recognized fifty continuous years of Public Policy programs. The state board passed a resolution to support sending state collegiate students to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL).
2015: Developed AAUW Colorado Strategic Plan. Initiated plan for restructuring the Board of Directors.
2016: Archives moved from Auraria to the Denver Public Library’s Western History/ Genealogy Department. Voted to continue awarding the Legacy of Leadership Award biennially, at state convention, as Regional has discontinued the recognition award. Since Colorado’s bylaws were amended to remove branch presidents from the state board the Interbranch Council was reestablished. The Chair of the Council would be its designated board representative.
2017: Mandatory revisions of the State Bylaws twice – from different templates issued by National. Several members trained to present Start Smart Education. Many AAUW members attended the Women’s March in Denver in January 2017. State Convention in CO Springs.
2018: State Convention in Littleton. Red Rocks Community College became an AAUW College/University Partner Member. Several branches presented Start Smart workshops. AAUW Board Chair Julia Brown was the Keynote Speaker at the 2018 AAUW Colorado State Convention. AAUW CEO Kimberly Churches spoke at the 2018 Fall Leadership Conference and presented the new National Strategic Plan.
2019: State Convention in Longmont at the OUR Center. Updated the State Bylaws. State and branches are in the process of implementing the National Strategic Plan. Fall Leadership focused on successful strategic plan activities at the branch level and ways to make the Strategic Plan happen in Colorado.
2020: Public Policy Day focused on the Immigration Conversation featuring Senator Julie Gonzales, Colorado District 34. AAUW of Colorado hosted the Rocky Mountain Regional Conference. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held virtually. AAUW CEO Kim Churches and Board Chair Julia Brown spoke. To better communicate with state members during the pandemic, the Board initiated monthly newsletters entitled “Connects.” Fall Leadership Conference was held virtually and focused on Leadership: 2020 Vision through Mindfulness, Mission, and Mission, featuring Dr. Dena Samuels.
Betsy Loague 1927-2016
Laurel Seppala-Etra 2017-2019
Eileen Young 2020-