|Lois (right) in Ghana in July, 2014.|
The University Club was founded in 1901, but it wasn’t until 1938 that women were admitted to the Club as “Privilege Members.” A women’s bowling league was organized, tea parties and bridge parties were held annually, but the fairer sex was precluded from joining in the whiskey poker games. A generation or so later, after four years of intense debate, women were admitted to full membership in the Club on March 24, 1983, by a vote of 223 to 85. One year later, in 1984, Lois Wilson was the first woman elected to the board.
The University Club Board will celebrate the leadership – both in the Club and in the community – of longtime member Lois Wilson with a luncheon at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany, 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street on Thursday, June 25 from 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.
The cost for the luncheon is $25, which may be paid at the door, or payment may be made in advance with a credit card at www.universityclubalbany.com . The event is sponsored by the University Club Foundation and one need not be a member of the Club to attend. The Club will serve a hot and cold buffet from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., with the program commencing at 12:30. Reservations for the June 25 luncheon are required by Tuesday, June 23 and may be made by prepaying online, by calling the Club at 518-463-1151 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The featured speaker at the luncheon will be Philip McCallion, Ph.D. ACSW, co-director of The Center for Excellence in Aging & Community Wellness (CEACW) of the University at Albany’s School of Social Welfare. The CEACW promotes the adoption of effective, innovative practices and policies that address the needs of aging persons, their families and caregivers with an emphasis on vulnerable and oppressed populations. “Real community change around aging issues comes when key voices in that community speak up and lead,” said Dr. McCallion.”Lois has always been such a voice and leader.”
When she received the 3rd Age Award in 2011, Senior Services of Albany described Lois Wilson as “a woman of many firsts. She was the first woman to be elected to the University Club Board of Directors and was the first woman to serve as president of the Board of Trustees at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany.” Although she retired in 1997 after a 37-year career in the Albany area, Lois has continued to work tirelessly to advance social justice and sound public policy at home and abroad.
- In 1998, Lois co-founded the Capital District Senior Issues Forum (CDSIF), a grassroots, voluntary initiative among faith communities, organizations and individuals that provide support for seniors in the Capital District through education and dialogue. The CDSIF’s goals are: to recognize the contributions of older adults; to identify issues and unmet needs of the senior community; to serve as the convener of stakeholders to address these issues through forums, legislative programs and educational programs; to educate the community about issues affecting seniors; and to generate the support of faith communities for health, healing and wholeness of older adults.
- Since 2001 she has been the co-chair of the African Ministries Committee at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The Committee works with more than 45 persons born in Africa who have joined Westminster since 2001, has an affiliation with eight Capital District groups representing African immigrants, is organizing its sixth mission trip to West Africa, and expects to spend about $25,000 in 2015 for projects in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to support children who need safe water, food, shelter and basic education, including Ebola orphans. The Committee’s final 2015 fundraiser will be Saturday, Nov. 7, from 5 - 8:30 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany.
- Since 2005 she has been the convener for the Community Coalition that is providing programs for residents at Schuyler Inn in Menands. As of May 29 Schuyler Inn was running senior-support housing for 35 individuals and was providing services to 60 families with 90 children. The community coalition organizes social events, holiday gifts, homework help three days a week, summer recreational programs and a supplies corner stocked with dental supplies (donated by the New York State Dental Foundation), bath soap, toiletries, and diapers.
Lois was born in Batavia, New York, graduated from Ithaca High School and earned a bachelor’s degree at Elmira College and a master’s degree at Cornell University. She began to work in Albany as a Public Administration Intern in July 1960 and worked for the New State Assembly, NYSUT, Governor’s Office, NYS Budget Division, NYS Education Department, NYS School Boards Association, and the NYS Senate Education Committee. She retired in December 1997.