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AAUW to celebrate milestone

Since the early 1930s, the Ironton chapter of the American Association of University Women has sought to encourage women to seek higher educations and break down barriers of gender inequality.

Thursday, the group will celebrate those 80 years with a special anniversary event at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Ironton.

Member Marlene Koenig has been with the group for about 50 years, first in her home state of Illinois, and now with to the Ironton chapter. She said the event is open to all members, past, present and anyone who wants to learn about the group.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Koenig said of the anniversary milestone.

Portsmouth and Ashland, Ky., chapter members are also invited to attend. There will be a musical soloist and local historian Kay Rader will speak to attendees about Ironton in the 1930s and also how the AAUW played a role in the community.

Koenig said the group is always looking for new members and is open to women who have earned associate’s or university degrees or students actively seeking a degree.

“We are very diversified in age, occupations and interests,” Koenig said, noting the group’s members range in age from 30 to 85. She also said the bonds of friendship are strong within the group.

Over the years, the group has raised money to donate to various community organizations such as the domestic violence shelter, Ohio University Southern’s Academy of Excellence, Golden Girls in Kenova, W.Va., and have given money for scholarships.

In the AAUW’s early years in Ironton, the group also helped to furnish books for the children’s area at Briggs Lawrence County Public Library.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Ironton chapter, or those who just want to learn about the group, can attend the anniversary celebration. The group also meets every second Thursday of the month at OUS. For more information about joining, contact the chapter’s president, Kay Falls, at 532-5654.