KALAMAZOO—A longstanding organization at Western Michigan University with a venerable tradition will celebrate its 100th anniversary in May, then disband.
The University Dames invites all members and former members as well as their guests to attend a celebratory luncheon program and final on-campus gathering Saturday, May 4. Invitations for the event will be mailed in late March. Call Jean Scott at (269) 343-2296 to be added to the invitation mailing list or to add someone else who may be interested in attending the gathering.
The University Dames was founded as an organization for the wives of WMU faculty members. It evolved into the WMU Women's Association in the early 1990s and was opened to any woman associated with the University. The organization returned to its original name a few years later, however, and has been primarily made up of the wives of retired faculty members since then.
"It has been a fruitful and educational women's organization for a long time, enabling us to learn and socialize," says Marcella Kelemen, the group's publicity head. "But membership losses and changing times have necessitated calling it a day. We want to go out in grand fashion, so we hope to reach as many former Dames as possible. Remember, 'Once a Dame, always a Dame.'"
Dr. Sharon Carlson, director of WMU's Archives and Regional History Collections, will be the featured speaker at the luncheon. The archives collection holds historical University, regional and local governmental records. One of the largest libraries of its type in Michigan, it is in the process of building a state-of-the-art, easily accessible facility to house its growing materials.
The luncheon also will feature a commemorative University Dames plaque and a memorabilia table. Luncheon attendees are asked to bring photos, event notices, recipes and other souvenirs of the past that can be included in the memorabilia display.
Although the University Dames is disbanding, the organization is leaving a lasting legacy through its University Dames Endowed Scholarship. Offered annually, the scholarship is awarded to WMU graduate students, with preference given to female applicants.