Camaraderie, activities, fundraising, scholarships, and cookbooks are five words that could be used to describe the Trinity University Women’s Club (TUWC).
Composed of some 180 members, the mission of TUWC is to “render service to Trinity University….maintain a scholarship fund for students, and to provide an opportunity for friendships.”
“The members bring their own interests and passions to the club,” says the organization’s president, associate professor of education Heather Haynes Smith ’97, M’98. “That is the strength of the club.”
That passion extends to an important project of TUWC, CookingTUgether: Collected Recipes, a hardcover cookbook featuring recipes from current and past members. Approximately 2,000 of the books are printed, and they are sold for $32.50 each, plus a shipping fee.
The TUWC first published a cookbook in 1996 as Trinity a la carte. A member of the steering committee was Mary Jane Judd ’57, the spouse of Chaplain Emeritus Raymond Judd ’56.
“The club has been one of the most satisfying things I have belonged to,” said Mary Jane Judd, a former president. “It’s so much fun. We love to see the younger members involved in the club.”
The current cookbook is an expansive work that contains recipes from over 130 contributors. Additionally, photos and highlights of the University’s history and traditions are included.
Where do the proceeds from the cookbook end up?
“Since 1934, our core value is to provide scholarships,” says club historian and former president Kristine Howland, director of planned giving for Major and Planned Gifts. “The late, former president Ron Calgaard agreed to let the club establish an endowment, which has grown to well over $100,000. Our scholarships, based on need and merit, enhance the financial aid package.”
Rising seniors are first identified for the Trinity Women’s Club Scholarships through the Office of Student Financial Services. The Women’s Club receives the information and asks the applicants to write an essay to formally apply. A committee selects the two recipients each year. Currently, the scholarships total $4,500 annually, based on the 4.5% endowment interest rate established by University Trustees.
A recent beneficiary of a Women’s Club Scholarship is Kassie Kelly ’18, the membership manager for The Texas Tribune, a non-partisan media organization in Austin, which keeps watch on the political, government, and statewide issues in Texas.
“I received a Women’s Club scholarship the semester before I left for London to study abroad,” Kelly says. “At the time, I still wasn’t sure I would have sufficient funds for a study abroad semester, but the scholarship ensured that I did. That semester proved pivotal in my personal growth and career exploration.”
Brianne Davis ’15 received a scholarship during the 2012-13 academic year. Davis served as Trinity’s assistant director of athletics for sports communications for four years. She now works in Dallas as an assistant account manager at Lockton Companies, the world’s largest independent commercial insurance broker.
“The biggest thing the scholarship provided me was a sense of support,” Davis said. “Receiving a scholarship boosted my confidence and assured me there was a community of strong women at Trinity who wanted me to succeed.
“The support and community the Women’s Club provides to women on campus is truly invaluable,” she continues. “They welcome everyone with open arms and provide women on campus with a space to meet, connect, and grow friendships.”
The first scholarship was awarded in 1935, when Trinity was located in Waxahachie, Texas. To raise money for the scholarships, women faculty members and spouses of faculty, according to the current Cooking TUgether book, placed a baked item in a traveling basket. A member contributed money for the item, replaced the “goodies,” and then passed it on to the next person.
Coinciding with Trinity’s move to San Antonio in 1942, the club continued the scholarship tradition. Members also helped students with curtains for the dorms and student center, along with kitchen towels. Bake sales were also part of the tradition.
In 1973, the name of the organization was changed to the Trinity Women’s Club, from the previous Faculty Wives Club. Membership requirements have continued to evolve, and include women who are currently employed at or have retired from Trinity, whose spouses are currently employed at or have retired from the University, and people who have a genuine interest in Trinity. Recently, Trinity alumni were added to the list.
“I became a member of the Women’s Club because I wanted to do my part and help future scholarship recipients,” Kelly added. “It’s been a meaningful way for me to pay it forward to an organization that helped me as a student, and I encourage alumni to find that too.”
Howland agreed with Kelly on alumni involvement in the Trinity Women’s Club.
“Alumni have expressed they enjoy the club because it’s the only activity where they see real students in their real environments,” Howland says. “Many are donors, and they meet selected students. They feel like they are getting to know the real students.”
Service to those students is an important part of belonging to the Trinity Women’s Club. Twice a year, when Trinity’s Mabee Dining Hall is closed, members participate in a “crockpot cookoff.” The ladies make their favorite dishes and deliver them to the Bell Athletic Center, starting with the winter sports teams of men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s swimming and diving. The summer research students also benefit from the culinary generosity of the club.
“The students and the ladies love it,” said “shindig” coordinator Stacey Lenderman, the office manager of Trinity Athletics. “They get hot foods, salads, and desserts, and it’s kind of like they are at home. It makes the student feel really special.”
The club has four annual meetings, in the months of October, December, February, and April. There are activities such as lunches and dinners (with spouses and guests) and special interest groups, such as film aficionados.