Society of 1918: Our History


The Women & Philanthropy Task Force is created at W&M

May 2015

Val Cushman is hired as W&M’s first director of alumnae initiatives

April 23, 2016

The Women & Philanthropy (W&P) Leadership Circle, comprised of 23 alumnae and one honorary alumnus, has its first meeting

October 15, 2016

At the second meeting of the W&P Leadership Circle, members decide to create the Alumnae Initiatives Endowment (AIE) with a goal of attracting 100 women to contribute $10,000 each over a five-year period

December 2016

The first gifts to the AIE are recorded

February 12, 2017

The W&P Leadership Circle renames the circle “the Society of 1918,” after the year women undergraduates first attended William & Mary, and discuss a draft structure for a permanent steering committee

May 17, 2017

The W&P Leadership Circle adopts the Society of 1918 membership criteria, mission and vision

September 2017

The W&P Leadership Circle sends its first solicitation, inviting 900 alumnae to join the Society of 1918

October 1, 2017

The Alumnae Initiatives Endowment reaches the $1 million dollar endowment goal and 100 members

October 21, 2017

At its fifth and final meeting, the W&P Leadership Circle officially launches the leadership structure of the Society of 1918 with 134 members and changes the AIE fundraising goal to $1.918 million

March 22, 2018

At the first Society of 1918 steering committee meeting, the committee approves the new Young Guarde rate of $5,000

March 23, 2018

The Society of 1918 hosts its first member-exclusive event, W&M Women: All Aboard is held on campus

July 2018

The Society of 1918 reaches its $1.918 million goal

September 21, 2018

The Society of 1918 announces at W&M Women’s Weekend that $2.65 million has been raised and the new goal is $4 million. At the society’s celebratory dinner that evening, member President Katherine A. Rowe provides the keynote address

December 17, 2018

Society of 1918 Bylaws approved

March 2019

Thriving Tribe, the second Society of 1918 exclusive event, is held on campus

July 2019

The society surpasses its $4 million endowment goal with 430 members

September 28-29, 2019

The society hosts its steering committee meeting and third Society member-exclusive event, Gather. Grow. Give., in Washington, D.C. The steering committee approves a reduced faculty/staff membership rate of $5,000 and the creation of ten $4,000 scholarships for graduating women

March 27, 2020

The society had to cancel its on campus steering committee meeting and fourth Society member-exclusive event, Gather. Grow. Give., in response to Covid-19

March 2020- June 2021

In response to Covid-19, all in-person events were postponed or canceled and replaced with virtual programming. Among many virtual programs sponsored by the Society, some highlights were multi-part series on the topics of women in crises leadership, women in STEAM and women's health. These porgrams were made available all members of the W&M community. Additionally, members gathered for the annual Society of 1918 member exclusive event that featured sessions on design thinking and polarity thinking 

February, 2021

Society makes its first investment from the Alumnae Initiatives Endowment, which now stands at $4.4 million, in support of Women In Action alumnae engagement and the Center for Race and Social Justice alumnae engagement. Grants of $10,000 each were awarded to each cause. The remaining balance of the endowment payout will be rolled over to the next year to support the return of in-person programming including W&M Women's Weekend

March 19, 2021

For You: For W&M, the fifth Society member exclusive event was held featuring sessions on polarity thinking and design thinking. The full steering committee convened virtually the following Friday and among other business appointed twelve new steering committee members