September 25, 2015, marked the end of an era for the San Jose State University Faculty Wives Club. The nearly century-old club held its final meeting and handed out the last of its scholarships.
At its height, the group boasted a membership of 165 women. It has dwindled to 41.
“It’s unfortunate that we can’t keep it going, but we can’t,” said Pat Daoud, ’74 MA Psychology. “Nobody can survive in this valley without both people working, as a general rule, so young women don’t have that option of joining social groups and supporting the community.”
Winifred MacQuarrie, wife of Professor Thomas MacQuarrie, started the Faculty Wives Club in 1927. He was appointed president of San Jose State in 1927. As a final act, club members donated to the SJSU President’s House a silver coffee and tea service that was commissioned in the 1950s in memory of Winifred MacQuarrie.
Betty Van Arsdale is one of the longest living members. She joined 69 years ago in 1946.
“The scholarships have been the most important part, but of course the friendship and contact throughout all the years with people who were in the same position as being wives of professors has been very endearing,” Van Arsdale said.
The club served as a social and community-minded organization. It held fashion shows, sold cookbooks and donated money to fund student scholarships.
Over the years, the club handed out an estimated $123,000 in scholarships. Four students received $3,000 scholarships at the club’s final meeting.
Cindy Brown-Quinn, ’14 BA Social Work, was one of them. The scholarship was critical for her.
“It’s basically keeping me from going homeless. I feel like there’s no way I would have been able to do this, without the scholarship,” she said. Brown-Quinn is currently working on a master’s degree in social work at SJSU.
Another scholarship recipient, Kanotha Kamau-Devers, ’16 Civil/Structural Engineering was grateful for the Faculty Wives Club scholarship, too. After talking to club members at the final meeting, he realized the club offered more than financial assistance.
“The love and spirit this group brings, means a lot,” he said.
Club members also awarded scholarships to Nhan Nguyen, ’15 Nursing, and Elizabeth Marie Mellow, ’15 Psychology. These final scholarships closed out the books for the club, but their legacy will live on.
“I want to be that person in the future who starts my own scholarship, whose part of committees to give back to the next generation, to pay it forward,” said scholarship recipient, Cindy Brown-Quinn.