History of CFUW Sherbrooke and District

In the fall of 1966 Lorraine Codere and Enid Hopper began discussing the creation of a branch of University Women’s Clubs. Others involved in the subsequent events which led to admittance to the national organization in 1968 were Mary Chinn, Van Cornwall-Jones and Marguerite Loomis.

A keen interest in advocacy at the local, provincial and national levels has resulted in the preparation of many submissions and resolutions. Briefs at the provincial level have addressed Bills 22, 63, 01, and cuts to loans and bursaries funding. Concerns about Canadian unity led to a presentation by ten of our members to the Kitchener-Waterloo club (1996). A national resolution on the establishment of the Refugee Appeals Division was prepared and successfully defended at the 2004 AGM and is on record as official CFUW policy.

Education has always been a high priority in club activities. Many book fairs, Summer Markets, Silent Auctions have funded French Prizes (1972), Career Counselling Projects (1975-77), essay writing contests (1981-82), Mae Sot Educational Project (2004-05) , high school public speaking contests (1971-73, 1992-present) libraries, and scholarships.

Many of our thriving Interest Groups collect money at each gathering and make donations to libraries, Haitian Relief, Mental Health Estrie and school lunch projects. To date the CFUW Grannies have raised $65,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The Walking group produced a calendar featuring photos of walks from Townships villages and marshes. The proceeds of $1700 were divided equally between the St. Francis Valley Naturalists’ Club and the Parc Ecoforestier de Johnville.

Club initiatives have included the Netherlands exchanges, the One Room School house project and letters of commendation to outstanding women leaders.

In August 2000 we hosted the visit to the Townships of members of the Dutch University Women’s Club (VVAO). In May 2003 seven of our members participated in a visit and tour of the Netherlands at the invitation of the VVAO. These members attended a Conference on Ageism and Women and presented a paper written jointly by participants. We extended an invitation to the Dutch women who returned to Canada and visited Ottawa, the Townships, Quebec City and Montreal. During summer 2009 several members of the Sherbrooke and Quebec City clubs returned to Holland for a two week visit.

The One Room School House project plays an important role in preserving Townships educational and social history. Oral history interviews with former teachers and students begun in the mid nineties resulted in the publication of the permanent agenda, Days to Remember, an award (2007 AGM), a presentation of a workshop (2008 AGM), speaking engagements, donations of $12,650 to our Scholarship Foundation and $500 to CFUW Charitable Trust.

Establishment of a modest scholarship fund began in 1973/74. On August 9, 1993 the Fondation des Bourses d’Etudes des Femmes Diplomées: region des Sherbrooke was incorporated as a non profit organization. In 2008 an endowment of $300,000 was received from the Sherbrooke Hospital Foundation to ensure training for bilingual services in medical institutions in the Townships. In 2012 $10,000 was received from the Tillotson Foundation. In winter 2010 the name of our Foundation was changed to Foundation Lampe Foundation. This year, 25 prizes and scholarships totalling $15,000 will be awarded.

In 2012, two club members, Marjorie Goodfellow and Dian Cohen, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal commemorating the 60th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Elizabeth II.

Club goals in the 2012-2013 year are to find ways to continue to include members who can no longer attend local CFUW activities, recruit new members, update our constitution and become more bilingual. Future members will evaluate our success in fifty years as club information has been placed in the time capsule sponsored by the Richmond County Historical Society.

Wendy Durrant, October 2012
Based on historical material in the CFUW Sherbrooke and District archives, maintained at the Old Library, Bishop’s University.