Our History

As remembered by Past President Margaret Mary Coleman

On Oct. 5, 1953, a small group of women met and formed the Duquesne University Advisory Board. Mrs. John T. Ryan, Jr. was the first president. They were women of diversified interests, but they were bound together by a common bond of faith in the high quality of education offered at Duquesne. They were organized to assist in the plans of the University's most eminent president, Fr. Vernon Gallagher. Since their contributions were in the social and cultural field, they had both a spiritual and material nature; the latter being best exemplified in the Scholarship Found established for the School of Music.

In the first year of the our existence, we hosted the following events:

* Dedication of Assumption Hall, a dormitory for women
* St. Joan of Arc at the Stake presentation
* Faust was presented by a Vocal Workshop
* Schools of Business and Law ground breaking ceremony
* Verdi's Il Trovatore production

As time went on, the members hosted many formal and informal affairs at the request of the President, Fr. Vernon Gallagher. For several years, members held a welcome tea for freshman girls. At the same time, periodicals, magazines, subscriptions, and out-of-town papers were purchased and placed in the libraries of Assumption and St. Ann Halls. Later, a memorial committee was formed. Many excellent and valuable volumes in the main library, are gifts of the Women's Advisory Board in memory of loved ones.

However, the day arrived when young women were no longer interested in teas, and also abandoned dormitory libraries in favor of the main University Library. The Board then offered other activities such as boat rides on the three rivers, champagne receptions for the freshmen and their escorts, and a fashion show where models were taught the art of applying makeup.

During all these years, the highlight of the Board's calendar was a Ball held in the late fall, which become synonymous with red roses. All the tables were lavish with two dozen American Beauties spilling over the pristine white cloth.

Duquesne University Women's Advisory Board added another highlight to its calendar--the President's Commencement Dinner. At this event, Fr. McAnulty, president of Duquesne University, hosted recipients of honorary degrees, the Executive Board, the Board of Directors, and the Holy Ghost Fathers.

Many women of brilliant and exciting memory are still spoken of with soft and fond recall: Mrs. Dominic Navarro, Mrs. Thomas M. Jones III, Miss Josephine T. O'Neill, Mrs. Andrea Iversen, Mrs. Christine Rocereta, and Mrs. William Seifert to name a few.

Today, the members of the Women's Advisory Board continues to fundraise and support the intellectual and spiritual growth of the Duquesne University community. We continue the tradition to provide scholarships for deserving students and supporting the mission of Duquesne University. In particular, the Board hosts an annual fall wine tasting fundraiser and in the spring award a scholarship to the winner of the Mary Pappert School of Music competition. Today, we turn our attention to another important initiative that will support future generations of the Duquesne community-growing our membership and expanding our presence on campus. Consider joining us and making a difference in the lives of deserving students.

History of Music Scholarship

On November 19, 1990, handwritten notes report that the Executive Board met with Dean Kumer in the Music School who wanted to change the way scholarships were awarded. The Executive Board met to discuss the role of DUWAB, the scholarship question, and the continued sponsorship of the President's luncheon.

In January 1991, it was suggested that a senior be the recipient of the WAB scholarship and that a WAB member be on the "selection board and share in the scholarship decision." It was recommended that the University would assume the responsibilities of the President's luncheon so the Advisory Board could use all their funds for the senior scholarship.

A new scholarship format was discussed on February 18, 1991 and the following guidelines defining the senior scholarship were drafting:

  1. The Scholarship shall be awarded for excellence in Music.
  2. The Scholarship shall be awarded to an incoming Senior who has completed his/her sophomore and junior year at DU.
  3. The Scholarship shall be awarded to a student chosen by an outside jury of three impartial judges with no affiliation to DU. The judges are to be suggested by the Dean of the School of Music with the assistance and approval of the WAB.
  4. The Dean of the School of Music and the President of WAB or a designated member shall be present at the competition.
    Publicity is to be promoted before the awarding of the Scholarship and afterwards.
  5. The students for the Scholarship Competition are to be chosen by the Dean of the School of Music and his Scholarship Selection Committee. 


Remaining monies will be distributed to other campus philanthropic acts in accordance with our mission.