AAUW – Tomah Branch was chartered in 1972 as an official branch of the American Association of University Women. The branch included twenty-seven women from Tomah, Kendall, and Camp Douglas. Our first president, Jean Farrell was supported by program vice-president, LuAnn Cipov, membership vice-president, Ann Gallagher, secretary, Julia Palmer, and treasurer, Dorothy Gressett. The dues (national, state, and local combined) were $12.00 a year.
That first year programming focused on “A Dollar’s Worth”. Members discussed candidates, international relations, the Tomah VA Hospital, prison reform, and cultural opportunities. At the May 9th meeting members reviewed and evaluated the branch’s first year.
In the years that followed membership increased to as high as thirty-nine members and decreased to as low as nine members. Whatever the numbers, AAUW – Tomah Branch has contributed to the community in many ways. Members invited local organizations to share their missions and concerns at meetings. The AAUW – Tomah Branch lead Monroe County recycling efforts in the 1980’s. Throughout the years, members have been involved in get-out-the-vote efforts, leadership trainings, education support efforts, and charitable causes.
Since 1975 the AAUW- Tomah Branch has given scholarships to send Tomah girls to Badger Girl’s State. This conference allows high school girls to learn and experience how government works.
Upon learning about the concept of Sister-to-Sister Summits in 1999, AAUW- Tomah Branch hosted this opportunity for middle school girls to learn and grow in March 2000. This has been adopted as a biannual project, though sometimes it occurs two years in a row.
After many years of celebrating Women’s History Month with community celebrations, in 2006 AAUW – Tomah Branch began recognizing and honoring local women for their contributions to our communities and women’s history. The Mary E. Wedin Women’s History Month observance is held every March in Tomah.