Woman of the Year

On November 12, 1975 the Poughkeepsie Branch held a dinner at the Vassar Alumni House to commemorate the International Women's Year and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of our branch. Eight women were honored for outstanding service to the residents of Dutchess County. Since that time, the Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW has selected a local woman to honor as our Woman of the Year. These women exemplify the goals stated in AAUW's mission statement:

The American Association of University Women advances equity
for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

We invite you to nominate candidates for consideration of this honor using the form linked below to print, fill in and mail. Your nomination will be in consideration for two years from the date you submit the form to one of the Woman of the Year Committee Co-Chairs: Margaret Ouart, 26 Broad St, Fishkill, NY 12524 or Mary Lou Davis, 125 Andrews Rd, Lagrangeville, NY 12540

Woman of the year Nomination Form>>


2019  Hon. Joan S. Posner

2018  Dr. Pamela R. Edington

2017  Mariel Fiori

2016  Krista Jones

2015  Mary Lou Davis

2014  Maureen J. Taylor

2013  Patti Peck

2012  Judith A. Lombardi

2011  Ann K. Armater

2010  Elizabeth Harrel

2009  Carole J. Wolf

2008  Eileen M. Hayden

2007  Diane Pedevillano

2006  Clara Lou Gould

2005  Eleanor Charwat

2004  Gail Webster

2003  Klara B. Sauer

2002  Anna Buchholz

2001  Margaret R Calista

2000  Ruth Stafford Peale

1999  R. Patricia Poggi

1998  Ceal Sommer

1997  Virginia A. Swartz

1996  Mary Moody

1995  Geeta Desai

1994  Gail Burger

1993  Gloria Rutgers

1991  Trudie Evangelou

1990  Marion "Chad" Patterson

1988  Earline Patrice

1987  Joyce Ghee

1986  Mary Lou Heissenbuttel

1985  Trudy Grundon

1984  Mary Keeley

1983  Helen Marchese

1982  Marie Tarver

1981  Patricia Braatz

1980  Lucille Pattison

1979  Dr. Eleanor Peck

1978  Marian B. Morse

1975  Ann Buchholz

1975  Bernie Fitchett

1975  Bessie Payne

1975  Dorothy Haight

1975  Edna MacMahon

1975  Frances Drace

1975  Margaret Race

1975  Hilda Bohmer

Elizabeth Harrel, Woman of the Year 2010

Betty Harrel is an educator, long-time community volunteer and member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). For a number of years, she has made a commitment to Children's Literacy in Dutchess County. Her work with AAUW's Leading to Reading program is legendary. She has developed strong relationships with libraries, grants-makers and donors to bring in approximately 5,400 books for Dutchess County's children. Her goals for Children's' Literacy are driven by a simple philosophy: All children should have access to books. Reading at an early age helps children build self - esteem, a thirst for knowledge and an active, growing mind.

She is active with The Children's Home of Poughkeepsie. Betty has served as Corresponding Secretary, Nominating Committee Chair, AdHoc History Committee member, Board of Managers' member and is now the Governance Committee Chair-elect. At Locust Grove, she was a development volunteer and member of the Friends' Board. At the Poughkeepsie United Methodist Church, she served on the Finance Committee and the Staff Parish Relations Committee. She also volunteers with Second Hand Rose, and the United Way of Dutchess County, where she recently was recognized with the Spirit of Dutchess Award.

In Poughkeepsie Branch of AAUW, Betty has held numerous positions including President and currently is the Community Chair. She is a past President of AAUW-NYS. Her strong skills in leadership training and grant writing have been a tremendous asset to all of AAUW.

Betty was Principal of Oak Grove Elementary School, where she facilitated development of yearly action plans, implemented Oak Grove Village, the school-to-work project, and supervised a staff of 50. She was a Coordinator for Special Education where she expanded the continuum of special education services. Other positions of note that she has held include Assistant Principal, Gayhead Elementary School, Assistant Coordinator, Special Education and School Psychologist.

She has a CAS from SUNY New Paltz, a Master's from Marist College and a BS from the University of Iowa.


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Website comments are welcome and may be directed to Mary King. This page last updated on Dec 17, 2018