AAUW Maryville was organized by Margaret Bell Lloyd, wife of Maryville College president Ralph W. Lloyd, in 1942. Notable projects included a successful campaign against driving under the influence, funding and managing Reading is Fun at local elementary schools, and producing and offering music lessons for elementary children before local schools provided music classes. The branch supplied books to the local library and speakers to local schools on nontraditional roles for women., encouraged women to run for public office, and sponsored seminars on subjects of special interest to women.
From 1962 to 1998, the Branch held an annual Book Fair that became a town tradition with a two-fold purpose: providing good used books to the public and raising money for the AAUW Educational Foundation, the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund, and a scholarship fund at Maryville College.
In 2000, the branch established the Agnes Thornton Bird Endowed Memorial Award for a rising sophomore or junior female student interested in a legal career at Maryville College. The branch hosted thirteen successful Sister-to-Sister Summits, a Transitions Conference for Women considering a return to school, Issues Forums and FilmFests in honor of Women’s History Month, and in 2003 established the Crystal Award honoring a citizen who has promoted equity for women in Blount County.
Maryville was selected by AAUW as one of eight branches across the country to receive a Sisters-in-Action Grant not once but twice. In June 2003, branch members presented a talk on the Summits’ role in grassroots activism at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C.
In 2005, the branch established the Women’s Equity Foundation as a Tennessee not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation and a supporting organization of AAUW Maryville Branch.
In 2008, the branch received a mini grant from AAUW of TN to help fund the Woman-to-Woman Voter Turnout Campaign, a joint AAUW—League of Women Voters project.
AAUW Maryville has been consistently rewarded nationally as a model of excellence—receiving 5-Stars in 2001, Gold Awards in 2002-2005, Platinum Awards in 2006 and 2007, and recognition for branch revival in 2003. At the 2011 National AAUW convention in Washington, DC, the branch received one of three $3000 awards for outstanding branch programs.
In 2014, with a grant from the Women’s Equity Foundation, a three-year license was arranged for Maryville College to conduct $tart $mart wage negotiation skills workshops for college-age women and men.
Equal Pay Day education events are held annually in April at Pellissippi State Community College or Maryville College. In July 2014 the Branch supported the initial New Opportunity School for Women at Maryville College. This intensive 3-week school assists low-income Appalachian women with job training and personal development skills.
Expanding Your Horizons 2015 at Maryville College is a day-long workshop introducing middle school girls to scientists and their work. EYH follows the Sister-to-Sister Summits as the next step in opportunities for young women in Blount County.