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NAUW Mission Statement

The mission of the National Association of University Women is to serve women, youth and the disadvantaged in our communities and in developing countries by addressing educational issues, advancing the status of women's issues, and strategically partnering with allied organizations.

NAUW Purposes

  • To sponsor, promote and enthusiastically conduct educational activities that are designed to provide community outreach services to learners at every level of development;

  • To provide assistance to those who have not completed their education and need basic skills necessary to function effectively in society;

  •  To work with educational institutions and other organizations to improve educational standards and foster academic and intellectual attainment; 

  •  To sponsor and conduct conferences and seminars that will allow us to achieve and advance organizational goals;

  •  To collaborate with other organizations and agencies that are concerned with community and world problems which include chronic health conditions like HIV/Aids, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer;

  •  To promote improvement in education, and when appropriate, issue public statements concerning the quality of education;

  •  To develop and sponsor research programs  pertaining to the standards and quality of higher learning; 

  •  To provide fellowships, grants and/or scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies; 

  •  To publish, sponsor and disseminate literature and materials pertaining to educational initiatives, trends and development.



Any woman who has completed a 4-year degree from an accredited college or university is a candidate for membership.


You’ll have the opportunity to:


  • Network with professional women

  • Develop additional professional and leadership skills

  • Gain experience that will enhance your resume and graduate applications

  • Serve as a mentor to young women

 For more information on our national organization, visit

"And so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving, and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires will burst into glorious fruition 'ere long."  Mary Church Terrell

Anchor 2


It was a tremulous era in our history. Lynching, racism and sexism were running rampant in the United States. There was a desire in the hearts of educated black college women to have an opportunity to fellowship and interchange ideas with Caucasian women who were members of the American Association of University Women. For three years a concerted effort was made to gain membership into this organization. Finally, in March 1910  Dr. Mary Church Terrell, Dr. Sara Brown, Dr. Nancy Fairfax Brown, and Miss Mary Cromwell conceived the idea of organizing an association of their own.

Out of this meeting came the organization of the College Alumnae Club of Washington, D.C. These women were interested in promoting professional excellence, personal influence for civic good; and forge the bonds of intellectual fellowship among college educated women.


The organization continued to thrive; by 1922 there were seven additional branches.   In 1924 these branches decided to expand and incorporate under the laws of the District of Columbia and became known as the National Association of College Women.  Miss Lucy Diggs Slowe, Dean of Women at Howard University,

was the first national president.












                       Dr. Mary Church Terrell                        Dr. Sara Brown               Dr. Nancy Fairfax Brown                   Ms. Mary Cromwell



More information on our founders








                                                                                                                                                                             Ms. Lucy Diggs Slowe

                                                                                                                                                                                        (more info)




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Our Mission
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