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AAUW dissolves

Tryon branch ends after 34 years

TRYON—The Tryon area branch of the AAUW dissolved on June 30 after 34 years serving the area. 

The area AAUW was chartered in 1987 with 30 members. The branch dissolved because it could no longer sustain because of decreasing membership and the aging out of active members. 

Secretary Sidney Gooding said the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to the organization’s demise as well. 

AAUW is the American Association of University Women. The organization began nationally in 1881 and is one of the largest scholarship programs for women in the world. 

The Tryon Area Branch was chartered in 1987 and began with first president Betty Huddleston; vice presidents Jean Robinson and Pat Fiol; secretary Jane Sanz and treasurer Peggy Woodward. 

For many years the AAUW created a voter guide for Polk County and Landrum residents to help them understand who was running for office. 

“AAUW is not a political organization,” said member Cathy Brettman. “It has always worked for the education and equity for women and girls. Education, economic security and advocacy for women are their main interests. Since 1881 they’ve supported women’s rights and took part in gaining our right to vote.” 

The local AAUW branch began a scholarship program in 2011 to benefit area high school girls in the area of STEM. AAUW provided scholarships for area girls to attend the Clemson Summer Scholar Program. A tea was held to fundraise from 2011 until 2018 and raised more than $20,000 in scholarships. 

Fundraising leftover from the AAUW Tryon Branch has been disbursed to finance scholarships for college students who had previously been recipients of high school scholarships to attend the Clemson program and to area adults who are furthering their education.