CFUW Fredericton History
In the spring of 1944, in Fredericton, a group of 44 university women gathered on four occasions endeavouring to found a third CFUW club in New Brunswick. The first recorded meeting was held on April 19, 1944 with the first item of business being to draft the constitution. The Committee consisted of Beatrice Phillips, Alice Oulton and Ethel Thurrot. The first project of this new Club, in cooperation with the Department of Health, was a showing of a film on venereal disease. Over 600 women attended; this was at a time when the population of Fredericton numbered approximately 10 000 people.
At the May 1944 meeting the constitution was adopted stating the aims of the Club: (1) to enlarge and deepen educational interests, (2) to promote friendship among university graduates and (3) to stimulate interest in problems of the day as well as to afford an opportunity for the expression of a united opinion. Provision was made for associated member at a fee of $1.50 (half the regular fee); associated members were ladies with at least two years post high school education.
During the first year four study groups were formed: French chaired by Marguerite Michaud, Education chaired by Bea Phillips, Mental Hygiene chaired by Dr. Ella Duff Good and Fine Arts chaired by Alice Oulton. Weekly luncheons were planned in addition to regular monthly meetings; however, even at a proposed cost of 85 cents these never materialized.
The Club quickly evoked interest in libraries by recommending that (a) the Legislative Library be opened to the public, (b) representation to Fredericton City Council be made for the establishment of a city library and (c) a regional library be established to serve the province. Further, throughout the first five years of the Club’s existence tremendous effort went into founding and maintaining a hospital library.
April 1945 marked the first visit of the National CFUW President, Dr. Ursilla MacDonald, a history professor and Dean of Women at the University of Manitoba. The Club concluded its first year with a supper meeting in June with 35 paid up members, $37.50 in the treasury and Beatrice Phillips as president.
In March 1946 the Club voted to support the local Council of Women and for several years our representatives reported monthly on Council meetings, thus we became active in community affairs. Resolutions calling for the establishment of a Juvenile Court, a day nursery for working mothers and the licensing of practical nurses came before our meetings. The CFUW Traveling Fellowship was awarded in 1946 to Elizabeth Brewster, an honours English graduate of UNB. This may have sparked our desire to fund a local scholarship. After much discussion and planning it was decided to offer a post graduate scholarship of not less than $100. The first awarding of this scholarship was to Pauline Cunningham.
Membership quickly grew with 67 members in 1948. Programs reflected the real concern for war torn Europe. Many food boxes were sent, mostly to Britain, and several clothing drives provided warm garments destined for Europe. Practically all this relief work was financed by voluntary contributors, a silver collection being taken at each meeting. As well, paperback books were sold and resold.
The members were reluctant to get into fundraising; however, an appeal for help in rebuilding Crosby Hall, the IFUW headquarters and residence for overseas female university students in London, encouraged the members to try to make some money. Subsequently four cultural concerts were held at the Normal School auditorium. Tickets were usually $1 or $2. One concert featured Nova Scotia born Portia White, the first Afro-Canadian singer to succeed on the international stage. Another concert featured the Latvian Ballet Troup from Halifax. This second concert failed to attract many Frederictonians so the Club had to give free tickets to students in order to fill the hall. Each member was assessed 50 cents to pay for the dancers’ accommodations at the new Lord Beaverbrook Hotel. At least the Club gained the reputation of introducing ballet to Fredericton. From the proceeds of these ventures the Club was able to donate $100 to Crosby Hall which was the highest per capita gift of any CFUW club. As well we were able to donate $125 to the Canadian Appeal for Children.
Finding a suitable place for meetings was a real concern—perhaps not so different from today. Rooms in Fredericton High School and the Normal School were sometimes available. Meetings were held at some homes and at the Beaverbrook Hotel lounge.
Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, the Canadian humanitarian who founded the Unitarian Service Committee (USC), paid her first visit to Fredericton in 1947. As a result of her visit, the Club embarked on its Child Adoption Plan which continued for several years. In 1947 the Fredericton Music Festival was started. An appeal for prizes induced us to offer $10 to a promising student in the 14 years old class. Subsequently, during Jo Lynams’ presidency in 1950 the Club obtained permission to operate a milk and cookie bar at the Festival whenever it was held in the Teachers College. Currently we give two $150 Festival Awards in memory of former members Jean Brown and Winonah Wheatley.
In 1963 a committee was established to plan a celebration of the Club’s 20th anniversary. One of the suggestions made was a money raising project, a possible book fair which could be used to start an endowment fund for scholarships. The first sale was deemed a success and it was recommended it be repeated. A $500 government bond was purchased to form the nucleus of an investment fund. In 1966 another $550 was added to our Investment Fund.
In 1965 the Club’s name was changed from the Fredericton University Women’s Club to the Canadian Federation of University, Fredericton. The name used today is CFUW Fredericton.
Throughout the next five decades the Club has been involved in many projects such as supporting a Korean orphan, presenting classic children’s films at the Playhouse, funding a kindergarten child yearly prior to the establishment of public kindergartens, awarding annual school library grants to rural schools in our local school district, supporting Transition House and the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation, supporting three Haitian students, plus other charitable donations.
Over the years, CFUW Fredericton has continued expanding our membership to include women who share our goals of broadening our interests to include financial support for music education, rural school libraries, a local shelter for teenagers, international education for girls and women as well as promoting awareness of homelessness, human trafficking, elimination of violence against women and pay equity for women. In 2014 we celebrated our 70th anniversary with such events as a Speakers Forum with four events, a reception at the home of the president of UNB Fredericton and an Open House held at Government House. In 2015 we celebrated our 50th year of operating the CFUW Fredericton Book Fair.
The Club has annual university and community college scholarships and bursaries presented to female students at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton, St. Thomas University and the New Brunswick Community College, those scholarships being the Jean Campbell Argue Scholarship, the CFUW Mature Women’s Scholarship, the Marjorie Barberie Logue Scholarship ( three scholarships), the Charlotte Van Dine Scholarship, the Beatrice Phillips Entrance Scholarship, the CFUW Fredericton Scholarship, the CFUW Fredericton Entrance Scholarship, the Dr. Althea Warren Macaulay CFUW Fredericton Scholarship, the Dr. Nora Ni Chuiv CFUW Fredericton Graduate Scholarship and the NBCC CFUW Fredericton Bursary. The funding for these scholarships and bursaries is made possible because of the annual Book Fair. Our proudest accomplishment has been the establishment and endowment of these CFUW Fredericton post-secondary scholarships for women.
Throughout our 2016-2017 year, CFUW Fredericton continued to grow in such areas as community involvement and opportunities and interests. We continued our partnerships with the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity and the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for the Elimination of Violence. Through our Hunger in Schools initiative, funding and food was provided for the Enterprise Program (high school program) and the Fredericton Community Kitchen back pack program for students. Our community involvement included Electoral Reform, the World March of Women Fredericton and a fundraiser at Chapters in support of a middle school library, as well as continuing support for rural school libraries, Fredericton Music Festival and local initiatives as identified by members.
In 2017 we continued the Speakers Forum event started in 2014-2015 with a Speaker Forum event, “Afghan Women: Peace Through Education.” Myriad opportunities are provided for members to come together socially—luncheons, appetizer socials, interest groups, committees and conferences. In addition, CFUW Fredericton continues our annual Book Fair which is a huge success thus affording opportunities for us to provide scholarships for female students attending post-secondary institutions. CFUW Fredericton currently provides 15 scholarships, 13 of which are endowed. Our most recent scholarship is a 4-year renewal scholarship at the University of New Brunswick.
Our goals for 2017-2018 were to raise awareness in the community of CFUW Fredericton of the work we do, particularly our outreach work and scholarship work and, a second goal was to welcome new members to CFUW Fredericton. We are please to note that five women joined CFUW Fredericton this fiscal year. Our outreach and fundraising programs include our September Open House held to recognize our scholarship recipients, the Book Fair held in March to raise funds for our scholarship program, Fredericton music festival awards, rural school library grants, Hunger in Schools programs, our International School Girls program and other local interests as identified. This year marked the 53rd year for the CFUW Fredericton Book Fair.
We continue our partnerships with the Muriel McQueen Centre for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity and other initiatives such as Resonate: The New Brunswick Women’s Council first public engagement, the Shoe Project—“In Her Shoes”, the High School Enterprise Program, the Fredericton Community Kitchen Back Pack program, the Fredericton Downtown Community Clinic, the Community Action Group on Homelessness in Fredericton, and Transition House.
Our scholarship program focused this year on increasing the value of our three scholarships at St. Thomas University and establishing a CFUW 100th Anniversary Scholarship to be awarded in 2019 to a female student attending the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. Most of our General Meetings feature a speaker on a topic which specifically supports our initiatives. This year’s speakers addressed such topics as Truth and Reconciliation, University Libraries, Domestic Violence and the Legal System, Girls attending School in the Dominican Republic. CFUW Fredericton members hosted a Reception Tea for visiting CFUW National President Grace Hollett and CFUW VP Atlantic Janet Willwerth.
CFUW Fredericton received two Certificates of Recognition from CFUW. One Certificate was in recognition of our “Afghan Women: Peace Through Education” Speakers Forum and the second Certificate was in recognition of our increase in CFUW Fredericton membership. The goals of CFUW Fredericton continue to be those established in 1944 while encompassing a broader community. An invitation is extended to all women to join with us.
2018-2019 was a very busy year for CFUW Fredericton as we celebrated our Club’s 75th anniversary. Two major events were undertaken by Club members with both events being held in October 2019. CFUW Fredericton hosted the CFUW Atlantic Region Council (ARC) Conference and Annual General Meeting. The Conference theme was “Women and Education” and involved a number of women speakers all of whom addressed this theme from their individual perspectives. The ARC members from the Clubs in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland/Labrador attended the Conference and Annual General Meeting. The Conference boutique raised in excess of $1,000 in support of ARC. The CFUW Fredericton 75th Anniversary GALA was held at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Many thanks were extended to the sponsors who supported this event. The GALA was well attended, including Brenda Murphy, New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor; Grace Hollett, CFUW National President; Senator Nancy Hartling; David Coon, Fredericton MP; and Mike O’Brien, Mayor of Fredericton. Many thanks to the CFUW Fredericton ARC/GALA Committee with special recognition of the outstanding work done by the Committee Chairs, Bo Miedema and Anne Soucy.
Our annual Book Fair fundraiser was extremely successful this year. Many thanks are extended to those who donated books, those who attended the Book Fair and purchased books, the many people who volunteered their time during February to May sorting books in preparation of the Book Fair and the many people who volunteered their time during the Book Fair. Special thanks to Ruth Holmes and Edye Besner, Co-Conveners of the Book Fair, for their outstanding commitment to this initiative.
Throughout the year, CFUW Fredericton continues to support, both financially and through donations, the Fredericton Music Festival, Enterprise Program, Fredericton Downtown Community Clinic, Fredericton Community Kitchen Back Pack Program, the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity, grants to school libraries, Women’s Shelters and international girls to attend school. Our scholarship program continues to grow with scholarships provided to women attending the University of New Brunswick, St. Thomas University, the NB Community College and the NB College of Craft and Design.
This year CFUW Fredericton welcomed four new members. We were saddened by the passing of four long-time CFUW Fredericton members. Our main goals throughout the 2018-2019 were to raise the profile of CFUW Fredericton in our community and to engage in membership recruitment and membership engagement. We have achieved success in both of these goals.
Our CFUW Fredericton 2019-2020 year had a very busy start. In September 2019, we held an Open House celebrating our scholarship recipients. This year 16 scholarships were awarded to women attending the University of New Brunswick, St. Thomas University, the New Brunswick Community College and the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. Members also approved the establishment of four new high school scholarships to be awarded to female graduates of Fredericton High School, Leo Hayes High School, Ecole Sainte Anne and Oromocto High School. In recognition of our CFUW Fredericton 75th anniversary, a new scholarship was established named CFUW Fredericton 75th Anniversary Scholarship. CFUW Fredericton continued its financial support for school libraries, the Fredericton Music Festival, hunger in schools initiatives, the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity and other initiatives as identified throughout the year.
In October 2019, CFUW Fredericton hosted the CFUW Atlantic Region Council Conference and Annual General Meeting as well as hosting the CFUW Fredericton 75th Anniversary Gala. Work on both these events commenced in the previous year culminating in an extremely successful ARC Conference and AGM and an outstanding 75th Anniversary Gala held at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery
Our Calendar of Events cited a number of pertinent topics with excellent speakers. Unfortunately, winter weather and then COVID-19 forced the cancellation of most of these events with the exception of January 2020 where the presenter from the Multi-Cultural Association of Fredericton regaled members with the outstanding work of the Multi-Cultural Association specific to their programs and supports for newcomers and immigrants to New Brunswick.
The months of August to February afforded the opportunity to come together for luncheon socials, executive meetings and committee meetings; however, in March 2020, everything changed as COVID-19 shut down not only New Brunswick but all across Canada. We were also forced to review our remaining 2020 events, thus resulting in the cancellation of our 55th Annual Book Fair, all meetings and others gatherings, our June Annual General Meeting and our Speakers Forum event. For the remainder of our 2019-2020 year, we were able to move to a Zoom format where we electronically held executive meetings, general meetings, Book Club gatherings and our June Annual General Meeting. As we move into our 2020-2021 year, we are still operating via Zoom as COVID-19 restrictions continue in New Brunswick as well as all other provinces and territories.
CFUW National was also required to change the format for any of their events. The CFUW Conference and Annual General Meeting was to be held in Ottawa in June 2020; however, the format was changed to an electronic Annual General Meeting. President Bo Miedema served as a member of the CFUW National Mediation Group, a committee which focused on identifying a solution to the CFUW’s and GWI’s dues impasse. Sharon Crabb completed her term of office as New Brunswick Regional Director. Bo Miedema will continue as CFUW Fredericton President for another two-year term. CFUW Fredericton had four new members this year. It was with great sadness we said our good-byes to CFUW Fredericton long-time members Sheila Laidlaw and Dr. Althea Warren Macaulay.