Chapter Original A of the P.E.O. meets to talk philanthropy projects
Chapter Original A of the P.E.O. Sisterhood met Jan. 4, with 24 members in attendance.
Hostesses for the meeting held on the third floor of the Union Block building were Lisa Oetken, Patricia Bensmiller, Teri Elgar and Heidi Ryon. Deb Sinclair conducted the business meeting. The chapter voted to make a donation to the Iowa P.E.O. Projects Fund in the memory of Juanita Fleenor, a former member of Chapter Original A.
Reports of two of the P.E.O. philanthropic projects were presented.
The first report, compiled by Paula Kinney and Carolyn Jensen, was on the International Peace Scholarship. This scholarship is for selected women from other countries pursuing graduate study in the U.S. and Canada. It was established in 1949 after World War II as a means to bring peace to the world through education.
Since 1949, P.E.O. has awarded scholarships totaling $37 million to 7,404 women in 168 different countries. For the 2016-2017 academic school year, P.E.O. awarded 187 scholarships to recipients from 69 countries totaling $1,728.500. Currently in Iowa there are women from the countries of Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Malawi and Venezuela working towards advanced degrees at the state universities.
The second report given by Carolyn Brenizer was on the newest P.E.O. project, the Star Scholarship. It was established in 2009 to provide scholarships to exceptional high school senior women who exhibit excellence in leadership, academics, extracurricular activities, community service and potential for future success, and who are planning to attend an accredited postsecondary college or university.
In the past eight years, $5,435,00 has been awarded to 2,174 recipients. In Henry County, Hannah Stater and Allison Lowe were awarded P.E.O. Star Scholarships to be used this academic year.
The Founders Day program was given by Carol Nemitz. Her topic covered the graduation preparations and the graduation ceremony of five of the P.E.O. Founders from Iowa Wesleyan University. Although coursework was concluded in March, the commencement exercises didn’t take place until June 16, 1869. The intervening time was spent on preparations and social events.
The graduation commencement took place on the third floor of the Union Block Building, which coincidentally was the meeting location of the Chapter Original A for the evening. The women either studied the “classical course” or the scientific course with an AB degree awarded for the classical course or a BS degree awarded for the scientific course. All 24 graduates of the class of 1869 were required to give a lengthy oration during the ceremony and the commencement was an all-day affair.
A replica of the program of the 14th Annual Commencement of the Iowa Wesleyan University was displayed listing the oratory topics, music selections and other parts of the ceremonies.