The Richmond Group of the University Women’s Club was formed in February 1967 at the home of Athalie Solloway with Jessie Casselman who was the Provincial organizer of Canadian Federation of University Women. She outlined the objectives and workings of the Federation. It was moved at that time to charter the Richmond graduates as a separate club with CFUW. On March 13, 1967 with Miss Casselman as Chair of the first meeting and including 15 charter members it was unanimously agreed to be affiliated with he CFUW and call themselves the University Women’s Club of Richmond. Athalie Solloway was elected as our first president and took the Chair.
In August 1967 the 17th triennial conference was held at Totem Park at UBC and we were presented officially with our club charter. In February 1968 our constitution and bylaws were passed by the membership. The aim of the club is to work closely with the Canadian Federation of University Women to which this club is chartered. This provision is unalterable. The group of university graduates was formed to stimulate intellectual activity, to promote interest in our community affairs and to facilitate social communications and cooperation among our members. At that time the annual fee per member was $7.00.
In 1969 the club suggested that the interest groups be started. There was an Investment club, book discussion groups and daytime bridge which unfortunately did not get very far. In the early years a book award was given annually to a deserving woman graduate from each of Richmond schools. They initiated the formation of the “Friends of the Library” of which the Children’s Print Library was a subcommittee. Our club participated in the Richmond Community Arts Council and assisted in producing a Doll Festival to which four thousand people attended and thirty-two school tours were conducted. Some members provided leadership in the Consumer’s Association of British Columbia. Our club provided speakers and chairmen for programs conducted by the local school board and Douglas College.
On August 2002 our club hosted the CFUW AGM . In keeping with our island geography, the theme was “Building Bridges”. Two hundred and thirty-seven CFUW members from across Canada attended as well as twenty-two companions. Our guest speaker was Reiko Aoki, President of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).
Our Club celebrated our 40th Anniversary in 2007 and hosted a celebratory luncheon for past and present members. In July our club won a Membership Award and highlighted the biographies of three of our members.
In the 50 years since the startup there have been many highlights. Our membership has now grown to 82 members and we are now accepting women from other walks of life who are not university graduates. We continue to be strong advocates of many Richmond causes all of which can be seen on our website. Our committees range from Archives, Communications, Issues and Resolutions, Membership, Program and Ways and Means. Our Interest Groups have increased from 3 in 1968 to 17 in 2016. They are also listed on our website. We received a Project Award in 2004 for support of TALK – a series of education programs developed for Third Age Learning at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Our monthly meetings are now held at the Kinsmen Pavilion at the Richmond Nature Park on the 4th Monday of the month. The Program Committee has introduced many topics and interesting speakers over the years. We are in a constant state of learning.
In June of 2017, our Richmond Club hosted a conference of more than 200 women from across Canada for a three day event with the theme “Gateways”. This was to acknowledge Richmond as Canada’s gateway to the Pacific as well as CFUW’s role as the “gateway” to education for women and girls with advocacy and scholarships as an important part of our calling. In September, we celebrated our 50th anniversary as a Richmond Club and invited past presidents and members to join us in the festivities.