Women's International Club Scholarship

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The Women's International Club, comprised of members of the Nationality Rooms committees, was founded in 1938 and originally met once a month at the Faculty Club to listen to a discussion of world events over lunch. In a desire to do more for the education of the next generation, the group decided to provide a scholarship for a University of Pittsburgh woman to study abroad. In 1975, a collection of tested recipes from members and friends resulted in the Nationality Rooms Recipe Book, now in its third printing. Proceeds from the sale of this book permanently endowed a scholarship which funds an annual award for a female undergraduate. In honor of Cynthia G. Maleski, Esq.


Undergraduate Women only are eligible.



For more than thirty years the Nationality Room Committees of the University of Pittsburgh worked with joyous excitement to build eighteen classrooms in the Cathedral of Learning that would tell the people of Pittsburgh about their cultural heritage and thus keep their promise to Chancellor John G. Bowman.

In 1938 the world horizon began to darken, especially for the ethnic groups that had gained political independence as a result of World War I.  In 1939, the world of the League of Nations – old nations and new nations – crashed.

The members of the Nationality Committees knew, then, that they were first and foremost American.  As many of their motherlands were soon pitted against each other in war, they became concerned lest there be division in their new country which would affect their work at the University.  As so often happens in life, the women quietly met this issue – the issue of “sticking together.”


Each committee had a woman as vice-chairman.  In many cases this leader had developed a women’s auxiliary to provide hospitality for social events.  Some of these leaders came to me to ask what could be done to help maintain unity.  The Women’s International Luncheon Club was born.  Each month we met for luncheon at the Faculty Club and listened to a member of the faculty discuss current world political events that were disturbing to us and needed clarification.

Soon we began working together as hostesses for the Council of all the Nationality Committees and for special University events.  The word “luncheon” was dropped from the Club’s name – too limiting and wrong emphasis.  We met to think, not to eat.  We met to achieve harmony and to work in that harmony for the University and the education of the oncoming generation.

 What wonderful discoveries we made – our common basic ideals and concerns – how much alike the different nationalities are, e.g., ground meat and grape leaves are derived from the same products of nature though the flavoring of each in a particular nation may differ.  Some people like potatoes as a staple, others rice.  But one thing is certain – the human being loves to eat.

It was not long before we discovered that money for a woman’s scholarship could be raised by bake sales or international dinners with “koláce” or “baklava” for dessert.  This scholarship would make it possible for a Pitt student to attend a university in the country of her forebears, getting credits toward her degree and, at the same time, acquiring more fluency in her grandmother’s tongue.

In 1974 the happy idea of compiling a Nationality cookbook, “The Nationality Rooms Recipe Book,” in order to permanently endow such an annual scholarship, became the goal of the Women’s International Club of the University of Pittsburgh.  What better way to share and perpetuate cherished family traditions?  This book is lasting evidence of women’s belief in and willingness to work for harmony among people and nations.

Prepared by Ruth Crawford Mitchell, Director Emeritus, 1975