Maria Ellis, President
It is with great excitement that I announce the creation of AAUW NYS Empire State Virtual Branch! Our 1st founders’ meeting was held at Cazenovia College on July 19, 2012 during our AAUW NYS Summer Leadership Conference in beautiful town of Cazenovia in upstate New York. We elected our officers, board of directors and welcomed all of our 25 founding members!
Our 1st founders’ members’ meeting was very special because Mary Lou Davis, AAUW NYS president and Eileen Hartmann, Nancy Mion, Diane Haney AAUW NYS past presidents as well as AAUW NYS state board members and branch presidents participated in our 1st founders’ meeting. Also, there was representation from our many branches throughout our seven districts including the North Shore Branch, the Islip Area Branch, Westchester Branch, Staten Island Branch, Rockland County Branch, Kingston Branch, Poughkeepsie Branch, Amsterdam, Gloversville & Johnstown Branch (AGJ) , Oswego Branch, Jefferson County Branch, St. Lawrence Branch, Fairport Area Branch, Greater Rochester Branch, Buffalo Branch.
There are many AAUW friends that I would like to especially thank for their support in the creation of the AUW NYS Empire State Virtual Branch including Ruth Wahtera, Donna Seymour, Phoebe Forbes, Joan Monk, Ruth King, Melissa Guardaro, Roli Wendorf, Jean Havens, Doris McLallen, Dayra Bernal-Lederer, Dr. C.S. Rani, Lorrin Johnson and countless others.
Special thanks to the president of the Greater Rochester Branch, my friend Marilyn Tedeschi, who reminded us that “July 19th is a Special Day for AAUW Empire State Virtual Branch and a Special Day for Women’s Rights!”
This Convention issued the first Declaration of Independence for Women, declaring that “all men and women are created equal.” While this may not seem radical now, in 1848 the new “women’s right movement” was very radical and the woman who started it met with much abuse. The Convention, which was organized in just a few weeks, took place in the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York, and proves that “a small group of dedicated people have the power to change the world.” And, indeed, they did.
We, the women and men of AAUW now walk in these brave women’s shoes!
AAUW – Women Determined to Succeed
The 17 women who founded AAUW in 1881 were college graduates with great potential in a world that seemed reluctant to let them succeed. They were determined to make their own pathways and refused to wait for someone to do it for them. Thus, they founded the Association of Collegiate Alumnae in Boston. Forty years later, the organization would merge with the Southern Association of College Women to become the American Association of University Women. Currently, AAUW is composed of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 600 college/university institutional partners. From the beginning, our mission has always been to provide education and opportunities for women and AAUW’s fellowship and grant recipients exceeds 11,000 women.
Welcome to the Empire Virtual Branch
As your Empire Virtual Branch president, I welcome you and invite you to embrace our AAUW mission to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our Vision is to continue to grow and to be a powerful advocate and visible leader in equity and education through research, philanthropy, and measurable change in critical areas impacting the lives of women and girls. As an active member of AAUW NYS Empire State Virtual Branch, you belong to a community that breaks educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance. In principle and practice, AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership including men and women. There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.
If you are reading these welcoming remarks and you are not yet a member, I encourage you to join us by clicking on the membership tab and becoming part of AAUW’s powerful voice!
Maria Ellis, President
Empire Virtual Branch