State History

AAUW of Oregon

A Living Legacy

AAUW of Oregon Past Presidents remember state accomplishments and personal gratification during their respective terms!

1969-72 – Betty Mosar – Seaside

My greatest accomplishment was encouraging the board to establish an Oregon Educational Foundation Endowment.  Personally, it was at the last state convention over which I presided.  During the education lunch, I was very pleased and surprised to see many of my Seaside Branch members present.  They had raised $500 to donate in my name to the Educational Foundation and that was back when money was hard to come by.

1975-77 – Katherine “Kappy” Eaton – Eugene

1. In coalition with the Oregon Library Association, we were able to persuade the 1977 Oregon Legislature to pass a new law which allocated per capita funding to local public libraries for both materials and services, using the federal dollars given to the state for library development (most of which were used before to fund the State Library).

2.  Oregon AAUW applied for and received an Association grant to fund library services in selected county jails. This was implemented in two counties with assistance from branches, the Oregon Library Association, and local librarians.

3. The State Board, with great assistance from local branches, designed and created a huge gold felt banner with a large pioneer woman’s bonnet in the center and “quilt blocks” from the branches depicting local scenes. The banner was taken to the national convention in 1977 to hang among the other states.  It was given to me afterwards and hung in my library at the University of Oregon and then in my home office.  It will be hanging one more time on March 10 when Eugene-Lane AAUW celebrates its 94th birthday!

1977-79 – Marilyn Zook – Portland

I visited 44 branches and met with many of our 3,800 members.

The state was involved in efforts leading to Oregon’s reaffirmation of the Equal Rights Amendment. Also, we published and distributed a booklet, “Women and the Law, Laws of Special Interest to Women in Oregon” in a joint project with the Oregon Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women.

1979-81 – Claudia S. Gray – Portland

We lobbied and got passed the state bill to require all school districts to offer kindergarten within five years, by 1986.

By the end of that two years, after lobbying, testifying, leading meetings and speaking before other groups, I felt so much stronger and more confident than I had at the beginning that I believe it changed me forever!

1981-83 – Joanne Stern – Salem

The Oregon Legislature approved the kindergarten bill. Oregon AAUW had been working towards this for 59 years!  The bill was approved in July 1981 to require all school districts to offer kindergarten (it didn’t require attendance and basic school support for kindergarten had been approved some years before).  The bill was to take effect in 1991. Most districts got busy and within a few years kindergarten was implemented in most school districts.  I had spent the prior four years as Legislative Chair for AAUW of OR with the kindergarten bill as a primary focus.

1989-91 – Gloria Martin – Salem

Oregon AAUW successfully hosted the Association Convention in Portland.  It was an opportunity to showcase our approximately 4,000 Oregon members.  Likewise many Oregon members had the opportunity to attend a national convention and actually experience the role Association plays in our AAUW lives.  During the session the first Educational Foundation research report was released called  “ Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America.”  This report, outlining how girls were being ignored in the average math and science classroom, generated much national publicity and the opportunity for Oregon to hold roundtable discussions throughout the state and nation as to the “cure” for this problem.

The board voted to close the state office, as so many members were computer literate we could do our own office work.  This was a giant milestone for technology and our finances.

1993-96 – Judith Ervin – Gladstone

Yes, three years were a period of change: AAUW of Oregon reorganized its leadership structure and governance; readjusted its election cycle to synchronize with other states; revised its bylaws; reformatted its team agenda to reflect those changes and renewed its focus on education and equity for women and girls.  Some programs and projects included holding a public forum for over 400 attendees with a reading of “School Girls” by Peggy Orenstein; enjoying a power lunch with Governor Barbara Roberts and others; receiving grants to partner for equity with middle schools; and learning from Dr. Janet Jones about the “Denigration of Public Education” and how to combat it.  We ranked in the top ten nationally in all gifting categories to EF and LAF exceeding our goals.  AAUW of Oregon was described by a national leader as “awesome”and “works as a true team – camaraderie directed to productivity.”

Membership in AAUW has given me many lifelong friends and made me who I am today: a city councilor, a college trustee, an officer and director of a national organization, acting parliamentarian for two groups and a leadership consultant.  AAUW excelled in mentoring and providing leadership training for all its members.

1996-98 – Margaret Drummond – Beaverton

We all learned the “old” mission statement and we had a good time at great conventions!

2000-02 – Linda O’Hara – McMinnville

Team members and branch presidents were online (email), with the advancement of branches (more) creating web sites.

I was humbled by the willingness of others to help when called upon, my leadership and organizational skills were tested, therefore improved.

2002-04 – Margene Ridout – Seaside

My goal was to reconnect with the branches and let them know we value all of the membership.  During this effort I explored our beautiful state and overcame some of my shyness.  If you have a chance to join the state leadership team, go for it!

2004-06 – Betsy McDowell – Salem

An incredible accomplishment was launching and completing the statewide $100,000 Crystal Campaign to celebrate 100 years of AAUW in Oregon! $100,000 was raised for the Educational Foundation’s Drawing the Line on Sexual Harassment cross-corporate research/action project.