Indiana AAUW
Last updated September 23, 2001

Indiana Bulletin
~Fall 2001~
Volume 68, issue 1

Great Lakes Regional Director
Are We a "Classless" Society?
Phrases from Phyllis
5-Star Congratulations
Educational Foundation
Every Member Should Realize She is on the Membership Committee
Great Lakes United
Indiana Board Welcomes Kay Depel
Professional Development Fellowships
Public Policy in Indiana
Social Security for Women
Trailblazing Grant
Women and Work Conference
Branch Consultants
Branch News


Greetings from the 

Great Lakes Regional Director

Delinda Chapman, Great Lakes Regional Director
Regional Director Delinda Chapman, 77 Cottage Grove, Springfield, IL 62707, (217)529-9330;

I follow many illustrious Great Lakes Regional Directors: Barbara Bonsignore, Barbara Meiers, Judi Kneece. I thank them all for being great models. As your newly elected regional director, my role is to be your advocate on the Association Board and a communication link between the board and you. I am pleased to be able to share information in your state newsletters, making that important connection with each of you.

As your advocate, I encourage you to make me aware of issues and ideas important to you. Since we are entering a biennium of transition from the former organizational structure to the new, streamlined one, we need to assure ourselves that the strong and positive voice of the Great Lakes Region (GLR) is clear and effective. I welcome your help during this change process.

Under the new structure, the board will be appointing members from recommendations received. I encourage you to consider yourself a candidate for Association service. I shall communicate with you further as searches for these appointed positions arise. In the meantime, send me your ideas, I shall respond.

I am so proud of the Great Lakes Region. Three of our members (IL, MI, OH) were in the top 10 in giving to the Educational Foundation! Two (IL and WI) were in the top 10 in giving to the Legal Advocacy Fund! At the Austin Convention, we heard how much our support meant to women of eminence today, who were earlier overlooked or denied their rightful place in letters and science because they were women. Dr. Margaret Burbidge, astrophysicist, in 1957 was denied recognition for the Nobel Prize when her male co-author received it. Dr. Rita Colwell, the present and first woman director of the National Science Foundation, in the 1950s was told that chemistry was not a profession for women and was denied a fellowship to earn a master’s degree because it would be wasted on a woman.

The GLR is fortunate to have several members, newly elected in active positions with the Association. Mary Ellen Smyth (IL) is President of the Educational Foundation. Members Judi Kneece (WI) and Kathleen Brenniman (IL) join her on the Foundation board. Michelle Wetherald (OH) and Undine Stinnette (IL) serve as members of the Legal Advocacy Fund. Patty Hankins (WI) is the new Association Membership VP. We can be justly proud of the reputation and service of our GLR members.

The Austin convention suggested to me an activity which our region, states, and branches might make more use of: the formal recognition of women (and men) in our communities who support our mission and represent leadership models for us all. To acknowledge this recognition, give them a year’s membership in AAUW. Our voices are widely respected. Let us continue to sing out.

And to this end, I hope to collect from you and communicate with you on "Promising Practices" you have undertaken in membership development, fundraising, public policy/lobbying, or other events. Make certain these activities are brought to my attention.

Have a great year as you continue to make a

difference for women and girls

Are We a "Classless" Society?
Carroll Parsons, diversity and educational equity

Those of you who were at the Indiana Convention in April are aware of the controversy and discussion regarding the addition of the word "class" to the AAUW mission statement. Indiana is obviously not the only state where this caused questions and unease. We like to think that we live in a "classless" society; however, the sociologists say we are deluding ourselves.

The dictionary definition of class as it pertains to society states "…a rank of persons…". We may not like to think this of ourselves, but we do "rank" others. This usually occurs in a situation where we are the center person and others are above, equal to, or below us depending upon the criteria being used. Frequently, we do this unconsciously. Some very common ways in which we assign rank are wealth, educational level, social background, color, ability to speak English, etc.

We usually envy or are even jealous of those we rank as above us because we see them as having something that we would like to have and may believe that we deserve to have; our friends and associates are very likely to be those we view as equal to us in a ranking; and those who do not meet our standards are ranked below us. We can even break this down further within various relationships. The way we view a co-worker while we work together does not automatically carry over into the arena outside the workplace.

The mailing on diversity that I did in July included a "Classism Quiz," a "Class Background Inventory," and a listing of "Daily Effects of Class Privileges." It is my hope that these will be shared at a branch meeting and perhaps raise awareness of class differences – and thereby diversity – in those communities where AAUW flourishes and perhaps spark a new interest in those branches that are not so active any more.

A sample of the questions and statements from this mailing follow:

  1. How many people in the U.S. had no health coverage in 1994? 37 million and an equal number are underinsured, meaning that they have no coverage for a preexisting condition or do not have all their health care needs covered. The number of people covered by health insurance has steadily declined since 1982.
  2. The majority of people who became homeless in the 1980s were single mothers who had their children with them. Why was this true? Average rents for low-income single-parent households rose from 38% of income in 1975 to 58% in 1987. At the same time as this increase was occurring, federal housing spending dropped by 75%. In 1991 there were entire homeless families – father, mother, and children. What changed to cause this was the increase in housing costs that did not get matched by increases in wages.
  3. The "tax reform" bill of 1986, which was supposed to eliminate tax loopholes, cut the tax bill for Americans with incomes between $10-$20,000 per year by 6%. This averaged out to $69 per year. How did it change the tax bill of millionaires? People with incomes over $1 million per year wound up with even bigger tax cuts with an average additional income of $346,673. There is a differentiation between millionaires and those with incomes of over $1 million per year as a millionaire is someone whose assets total over $1 million.
  4. When you were growing up, what was your family’s source(s) of income?
  5. Describe your home(s) and neighborhood(s) growing up.
  6. List five highly valued expectations in your family and then list five least values.
  7. What do you appreciate or what have you gained from your class background experience? What has been hard for you from your class background? Some class privileges: Options for choosing different lifestyles; no need to feel apologetic for my lifestyle; there are people who can provide me with access to jobs, housing, schools, etc. and I can reciprocate; adequate retirement income will be there when I’m ready; schools for my children are above average in providing them with skills needed; economic status will not impact the classes we can take; analyzing and criticizing are alright as is the expression of my opinions.

Phrases from Phyllis

Phyllis Thompson, Indiana President
What is a leader? Webster defines a leader as a person who has commanding authority and influence. Generally, we think of leaders as those who campaign to win our vote, who call a meeting to order, and who delegate tasks. But leading also includes initiating a conversation, inspiring a shared vision and enabling others to act.

Leadership is a journey. Leaders recognize the need to continue evaluating their individual skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values as leadership evolves.

An anonymous quote was posted on the wall in a San Francisco bookstore several years ago. It is as follows:

How Great Are We?
As great as we think
As great as our goals
As great as the life we live.
As great as we want to be.

I am certain that each member in the great state of Indiana desires to be great leader. Each of us has the ability to initiate a conversation, inspire others with our mission and vision, and enable others to act.

For our Branches and State to grow, we must map each step out and be ready to lead. We must be ready to act and change. However, constant change and the unwillingness to change do not help an organization. We must have flexibility. We must realize also that differences of opinions will occur. That’s ok, because it shows that people care. If we never take the opportunity to appreciate our differences, we then become complacent. Complacency destroys.

We must also be ready to participate. As I have traveled around Indiana this past year, I see the participation of branches within the communities. Somehow we need to share that participation with others. Sometimes I feel we are the best-kept secret resource in the state. We need to speak up and tell people who we are and for what we stand. This is the sign of a good leader.

Now I know each of us is ready in some fashion to lead. So I leave you with a quote from Adrienne Rich:

"Today’s women
Born yesterday
Dealing with tomorrow
Not yet where we’re going
But not still where we were."

Happy Leading!

Joan Kutlu, recognition program coordinator
Congratulations to Anderson (5 stars), Fort Wayne (4 stars), Evansville (3 stars), and Indiana (6 stars)!

Anderson earned their stars in community action, public policy, social justice, membership, visibility, and leadership.

Fort Wayne received their stars in public policy, visibility, fund raising, and leadership.

Evansville was awarded their stars in community action, public policy, and social justice.

Indiana earned stars in community action, public policy, social justice, membership, fund raising, and leadership.

New 21st-Century Recognition Program

Why replace the 5-Star Recognition Program? Because you asked for:

Our goal/plan of action for this year will be to communicate with all branch presidents the details of the program, including where to get necessary information on the Association website.

Later in the year, a copy of the application form will be sent to each branch president for distribution to the member responsible for filing the application. Better yet, if your branch has identified a recognition coordinator, please let me know her name and address so the information can be sent directly to her.

Thank you for all the hard work and the good things that you do in your community. I look forward to working with all of you.

Educational Foundation
Beth LeRoy, educational foundation
Maryhelen Barnes International Fellowship

A very big thank you to all of you who have worked so hard the past three years to help complete the Maryhelen Barnes International Endowment (1616). Presently the endowment stands at $85,416.54. We have raised $25,000 over the past three years! It took a lot of hard work and if this rate of giving continues, we should be able to complete it in time.

For those of you who know little about Maryhelen, she has been our legislative chair (now public policy) three times. She was so good at her job the legislature called her to testify.

Maryhelen has been a member of AAUW for 70+ years in several states and at least one other country.

New Fund to be started – Friends Remembered

The board approved the start of a new fund to be named Friends Remembered. Donations can be made to remember a special friend, neighbor, family member, event, birth, anniversary, etc. The person who is being honored by the gift will receive a certificate suitable for framing and the donor will receive a special thank you.

When the fund reaches $5,000, it will be given to the Foundation for a Research and Projects Grant to honor a state member. Donations may be made in any amount and sent to Beth LeRoy (see Board of Directors on page 2).

Foundation news

This year the Foundation gave out over $3.5 million in fellowships. This is a new high. It is hoped to increase the level of donations by 5% each year. In so doing, we can continue helping women and girls. We also need to continue our research to help improve the status of women and girls in the United States and the World.


Donations to the Foundation should be mailed to Beth LeRoy (see Board of Directors on page 2) by December 15 of each year.

Applications for Fellowships

Applications are now available for the 2002-03 school year and can be obtained online at or from AAUW Educational Foundation, c/o Customer Service Center, 2201 N. Dodge St., Dept. 177, Iowa City, IA 52243-4030 or by calling 319-337-1716 ext. 177.

Completed applications must be postmarked by the following dates:

Every Member Should Realize She is 
on the Membership Committee
Treva May, director of membership
It was my privilege to be hostess for the State Leadership Workshop. I am awed by the fact that I started as a lowly member of AAUW and am now director of membership for the state of Indiana and have been hostess for two state functions. The board met here the day before. I had two very enjoyable days.

As you can guess, AAUW is very important to me. I give thought, time, energy, actions, and money. I believe the little I do can make a difference. The honors I have been given surely would say that.

Kay Depel, the new secretary for the board, made a very important statement. "Every member should realize they are on the Membership Committee." I had written that idea as a lead statement for this article the day before. We all need that mindset. Watch for every opportunity. The door might open even at Taco Bell as it did for me. Of course, announcing you are an AAUW member with a T-shirt, pin such as "Ask Me About AAUW," or the diversity pins from Wisconsin and Iowa, business cards or brochures about AAUW helps. I have both diversity pins because of gifts from Carla Stoneberg, because of perfect attendance at board meetings, and Mitzi Witchger, because I admired her pin. If you wish to attain these pins, contact Mitzi and she will help you. The money made goes to EF. Tipper Gore has the one for Iowa. Al met the lady who makes them and asked for one for his wife.

Remember that any member can Give a Grad a Gift through the AAUW website. If you haven’t a computer, send me the information and I will process the gift. You need the name, address, degree, where received, and date. I would also need your name, address, branch membership, and your identification number (I could look that up). I personally give the members I recruited that way their state and local branch dues. Yes, I said I believed in AAUW.

I hope you realize that if you have two people join at the same time, they pay one Association dues. That is a savings of $14.50 for each of them. And another perk is that your branch gets another Association dues to be used the way your members wish it to be used. There are special forms to be used. If you need copies, contact my assistant in membership, Patricia Robinson, 269 Mill Creek Drive, Chesterfield, IN 46017-1703, telephone 765-378-7800, e-mail If you have an assistant, you will be greatly blessed if you have a person like Patricia.

The Indiana Bulletin is a good tool to use. We should give many thanks to Barbara Wellnitz for preparing and sending the Bulletin. In a year, Barbara gives over 60 hours to prepare the Bulletin for mailing besides preparing the layout and editing the paper. Dedication? You can believe it! An item of interest is that Barbara’s mother, Helen Cashbaugh, who has passed her 90th birthday, is a member and very recently was president of her branch.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the State board members for the considerations they all show me. So I will give a gift to them if they take me up on my offer of a gift if they tell me they saw their name in my article. I would like to especially mention three of them who recently helped to make me look like a good hostess. They are Beth LeRoy, a very dedicated member, who sells EF items whenever possible; Laura LeRoy, if you haven’t heard her trailblazing story be sure you do so; and Susan Wahls, a very thoughtful person who quietly did things to lighten my load, gives many hours as communications secretary for the board. Carroll Parsons gave me a wonderful gift. She showed me how to help a person get up from a chair. Coy Halpern and Joan Kutlu are also very valuable board members.

Let us join the wagon for recruiting new members. It would be wonderful to get at least 100 new members before June 2002. Have fun!

Great Lakes United

Founded on Mackinac Island in 1982, Great Lakes United (GLU) is a coalition of organizations and individuals from the U.S., Canada, and the First Nations, dedicated to conserving and protecting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem. AAUW-IN and the other states within the Great Lakes Region are members.

GLU has worked on the following during the past year:

Visit for more information.
IN Board Welcomes Kay Depel

Delegates to the State Convention elected Kay Depel as secretary for the next biennium. Kay is a very active member of the South Lake County branch. She joined what was then the Crown Point branch in 1976 and the first office she held was that of president! She has also served as branch treasurer and a member of the nominating committee – more than once!

They say timing is everything – and perhaps so in this case. Kay previously served on the state board when Phyllis Thompson was in her first term as president. At that time, Kay was issues chair and then moved to the treasurer’s spot. She’s attended two Association Conventions and several Regional Conferences. Here in Indiana, she’s a familiar face at State Conventions and served as co-chair of the recent one in Merrillville.

Kay received her degree from the University of Alabama in accounting and marketing.

We welcome Kay back to the state board!

Professional Development Fellowships

The purpose of the Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Fellowship program is to reward and celebrate the work of outstanding women public school teachers by providing support for their professional development and to fund the implementation and dissemination of information about projects designed to promote gender equity in classrooms and schools.

After completing an assessment of the Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Fellowships program, the Foundation has enriched and expanded the program to include options for funding. In previous years, Teacher Fellows were required to "do it all" – attend the Eleanor Roosevelt Teacher Institute, complete a plan of study, and implement a gender equity project during the fellowship year. The new Teacher Fellowships program offers applicants a menu of options, to be phased in over three years. Applicants can apply for professional development support and, if they choose, seek support later to implement a classroom or school-based gender equity project. The Foundation also will offer dissemination grants, so that teachers can share information about the exciting gender equity projects they have developed.

Beginning in 2002-03 up to $5,000 may be awarded; applications are available now and are due January 10, 2002.

Public Policy in Indiana
Mitzi Witchger, public policy
I would like to have every branch president’s and public policy chair’s e-mail address so I can quickly send pertinent information out to them and ask for their active support of issues important to AAUW. Please send those addresses to I want to ensure each of you get AAUW public policy information like Call to Action and Get Out the Vote as well as information about the Indiana General Assembly issues so that AAUW women can be educated advocates for positive societal change.

Some important Women’s Issues events in Indiana:

Sept/Oct – Girls Inc. luncheon featuring Touchstone Awards
Sept 22 – Indianapolis Star Women’s Expo, Indianapolis Convention Center
Oct 4 – Indianapolis Women’s Fund dinner, Indianapolis Convention Center 5:30 p.m.
Oct 6 – Indiana Women’s History Archives picnic, Dublin
Oct 11 – Women & Work Conference, Sheraton 4-Points
Jan 18 – 25th anniversary of IN ratifying ERA (Gender Fairness event)
Feb – National Girls & Women in Sports Day
Feb/early Mar – Women Come to the Capitol (IN Commission for Women & AAUW event)
March – Women’s History Month

Some suggested websites on women’s issues: – girls computer game – National Women’s Law Center – Women’s Sports Foundation – League of Women Voters – National Organization for Women – women’s resources – girls and technology – women’s educational equity – girl’s magazine - one site for the Office of Civil Rights – women’s resources – Lycos – Janet Korenman – women’s studies

[see our other links back on the homepage]

Social Security for Women

As much as we all try to make things equal between men and women, some things just aren’t! Unfortunately, there are some situations beyond our control where women encounter inequity because of their different work patterns and lifestyles. Although Social Security benefits and coverages are the same for both men and women, research shows that women:

Social Security has developed a new website "for women" at You can find basic information about retirement, survivors, disability, supplemental security income, and Medicare benefits. There are also topics on the different stages of life and resources on how each stage affects your Social Security benefits.

The more you know about Social Security, the more control you have over your financial future.

Trailblazing Grant

Inspired by the stories of trailblazing women we heard at the State Convention and Leadership Workshop, the Board of Indiana AAUW encourages branches to launch a trailblazing project or event in your local communities.

Grants up to $500 are available to supplement branch efforts to fund a trailblazing project or event. We hope you included in your planning a project or event new for your area or one which has never been done by your branch. Create a plan of action and write a financial plan. The purpose of your project should be the promotion of the AAUW mission statement: AAUW promotes equity for all women and girls, lifelong education, and positive societal change. You are asked on the application to explain why the project or event is considered to be trailblazing or, as the dictionary defines the term, pioneering. All monies must be used during the 2001/02 AAUW year.

Applications for grants are now available. To receive an application, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Mary Lou Thomas, 11708 Redding Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46814 by September 15, 2001. Completed applications will be due to the same address by October 15. Applications were also included in the August packet sent to each branch president. The Board of Indiana AAUW will serve as the selection committee.

Women and Work Conference

The Women and Work 2001 Conference will be Thursday, October 11 at Sheraton 4-Points in Indianapolis. This is the same location as last year. The theme is "Celebrating Women of Courage and Vision."

Plans are being made for a separate area for health exhibits and perhaps a health-fair type exhibit as the bone density measurement and breast care booths were so popular last year.

Contact Carroll Parsons for registration information or see link on this site.

Branch Consultants

Following is the list of branch consultants for 2001-2002. Invite your consultant to join you at a meeting. Remember, she is available to help you with questions or problems. Your branch consultant should be considered your partner and a liasion with the state board.

Anderson Mitzi Witchger
Calumet Beth LeRoy
Elkhart Laura LeRoy
Evansville Joan Kutlu
Fort Wayne Jean Amman
Gary-Merrillville  Barbara Wellnitz
Goshen Susan Wahls
Indianapolis Carroll Parsons
LaPorte Susan Wahls
Madison-Hanover Joan Kutlu
Michigan City Beth LeRoy
Muncie Phyllis Thompson
Noblesville Treva May
Richmond Coy Halpern 
(317) 257 2640
South Bend Laura LeRoy
South Lake County Barbara Wellnitz
Terre Haute Phyllis Thompson
Valparaiso Kay Depel
Warsaw Mary Lou Thomas
The six areas that will work together are:
  • Anderson, Fort Wayne, and Muncie
  • Evansville, Terre Haute, and Madison-Hanover
  • Elkhart, LaPorte, South Bend, and Michigan City
  • Indianapolis, Noblesville, and Richmond
  • Calumet, Gary-Merrillville, South Lake, and Valparaiso
  • Goshen and Warsaw
Branch News


Members of this branch established a permanent scholarship endowment at the Ball State University Foundation appropriately named The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Muncie Branch Scholarship. Their goal is to endow the scholarship at $25,000 within five years and they have already raised over $13,000 toward this end. An endowment committee was created to set up the scholarship and oversee the endowment.

Their annual book sale earned $3,000 this year. They also raise funds via an auction. Items included are purchased, handmade, or baked. Antiques and services are also among the wares.

A member hosts a summer picnic to which everyone brings a dish to share. This event is open not only to members but spouses, children, and prospective members.

Calumet Area

The branch celebrated Mother’s Day with a "Bring your Daughter to Lunch" on a Saturday. Daughters, granddaughters, as well as "adopted" daughters were welcome! This event was a joint effort of the Calumet Area, Gary-Merrillville, and South Lake County branches.

Members also get together each year for a summer picnic when they prepare for their annual garage sale, which raises monies for EF.


Members of the Anderson branch along with Grace House of Madison County sponsored the 2nd annual Women’s Festival. Speakers and a local songwriter helped celebrate women and area agencies providing services to women displayed information about their offerings. Lunch and a raffle completed the day. This festivity serves as a fundraiser for the branch.

The branch will host a membership recruitment tea in September.

Helen Harrell qualified as an honorary life member this year after 50 years of belonging to AAUW.


Phyliss Benn and Evelyn Johnson were honored as 50-year members.

In a change of pace from the annual summer picnic, one member hosted a dinner for branch members on the deck of a local restaurant overlooking the lake.

One member hosted the prospective/new member brunch on a Saturday. This gathering helped attendees learn about AAUW and served as a get-acquainted meeting in an informal setting.

Thank you very much to those branches sharing their newsletters with the Indiana newsletter editor. To the rest of you – please share your news by sending your newsletter to Barbara Wellnitz.
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