Branch History

In February 2023, the branch celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding.  Priscilla Tiller, our member with the greatest longevity (over 50 years), summarized the century of club activities in a presentation that can be viewed here.

February 3, 1923:  Lewis County Branch was organized with nine charter members, including Margaret Corbet, the first principal of Centralia Junior College. Dues were $3.00. College scholarships were given in the form of loans. Creative Reading Group was formed and met twice a month.

1930’s:  Gwendolyn Jahnke was State Historian for the year.1931-32.  Meetings were changed from Saturday afternoon to Thursday evening, and have remained. Study topics included A Woman’s Guide to a Changing Civilization.  There were 44 members.

1940’s:  Minnie Lingreen joined our branch in 1941 and would be an active member for the next 50 years.  In 1943 it was moved and passed that members could wear short dresses, since they were traveling to and from meetings on public transportation.  We were active supporters of the war effort and provided furniture for a day room for servicemen.  After the war, our branch contributed to bringing a German boy to Centralia College for a year.  73 members.

1950’s:  The 24th Washington State AAUW Convention was held in Centralia at the Lewis & Clark  Hotel.  Branch president Lois Nordquist was Chairman.  Registration was $1.00. We gave our first full tuition scholarship for Centralia College ($30.00 per quarter).  Dues were $7.00.

1960’s:  Minnie Lingreen was vice president for program development of the Washington State Division of AAUW.  Study group topics included Africa, China, Politics of Education, Testing Values in a Changing Society and This Beleaguered Earth.

1970’s:  Our branch twice held exhibits of members’ art work.  We hosted two African women educators who were touring the U.S.  A “happening” and a “paint-in” were held.  Washington State AAUW published a full page article on branch member Dorothy Dysart, who had helped organize the State Division.  We received a grant of $1,000 from the Washington Commission for the Humanities to study land use management.  This resulted in a published book on the production of hops in Lewis County, by members Minnie Lingreen and Priscilla Tiller.

1980’s:  Our branch applied for and received an AAUW Public Service Grant of $825.00. This was used to compile a Foreign Language Translator Directory for the local community.

1990’s:  Our branch began giving awards for excellence in math and science to girls from each of the ten high schools in the county.  We held our first Expanding Your Horizons conference with Centralia College in 1993.  One of our members, Barb Selis, attended the International Federation of University Women at Stanford University, California. In 1998, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of our branch, dressing in period costumes and displaying our memorabilia.

2000’s:  In 2000, Ann Blinks and Shirley Waugh were honored as 50-year members of AAUW.  In 2003, the Lewis County AAUW Scholarship Committee was incorporated and an endowment fund established.  In 2006, electronic distribution of the monthly newsletter was  initiated. In 2009 our branch began to award a $1000 tuition scholarship to a Lewis County woman pursuing studies as a junior or senior at an accredited university.  Also in 2009, Sandy Godsey was recognized for 50 years of membership.

2010’s: At the February 2013 meeting , we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Branch.  Priscilla Tiller and Luana Graves were recognized for 50 years of membership in 2015 and 2016.

2023: The branch continues to hold Expanding Your Horizons for middle school girls and the annual Used Book Sale to raise money for scholarships.  It has hosted six Lunafest film festivals with the proceeds going to Hope Alliance and college scholarships.  Members enjoy participating in branch meetings and numerous interest group meetings.  We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the branch with a program and commissioning of a mosaic which hangs in the Centralia College Library.