In collaboration with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff STEM Academy, the Pine Bluff Branch of the National Association of University Women will commemorate its Annual National Day Program at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, in the STEM Conference Center at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.


The purpose of the National Day program is to provide an educational event which delivers information, validation and celebration of women leaders. The theme is “Women Leaders: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” Mary Liddell is the president of the Pine Bluff Branch, and Mary Brentley is the vice president. Mary E. Benjamin and Bunia Baxter are the co-chairs of the National Day Committee.


The keynote speaker is Pine Bluff Mayor-elect Shirley Washington. Born in Gethsemane, Arkansas, Washington graduated from Wabbaseka High School. She entered AM&N College and pursued a major in elementary education and a minor in English. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and completed additional studies at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway.


Washington taught for 22 years in the public schools of Jefferson County before advancing into school administration for the last 16 of her 38 years of service to children and adolescents. Involved in many organizations and boards, she served as president of the Pine Bluff Education Association; a member of the Southeast Arkansas Arts and Science Center Board of Directors; and the Pine Bluff Jefferson County Library Board.


Currently, she is a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Women, the Jefferson County Retired Teachers Association, The Pine Bluff Beautification Facilities Board, the Jefferson County Board of Governors, and a Life Member of the NAACP, where she serves on the Education Committee of the Pine Bluff Branch. Washington and her husband, Frank, are members of the Old St. James Missionary Baptist Church. They are the proud parents of three adult children and three grandchildren.


Washington will be introduced by the Honorable Stephanie Flowers, Arkansas Senate, District 25. Also featured on the program are Mamie Jennings and Azerria Cobb, UAPB STEM Academy; the Pine Bluff Branch Chorale directed by our guest Directress Janet Johnson; and Winnie Wilson, Chair of the “Woman of the Year Committee.”


The public is invited as guests of the organization. There is no admission charge.


National Day Committee members are the Program Committee, Mary Liddell, Mary E. Benjamin and Bettye J. Williams; Decoration Committee, Arlene Woody, Tina Owens, and Tamera Ford; Food Service, Bunia Baxter; Hostesses, Veronica Alexander, Felicia Fisher, Staci Irby, Zabrina Weaver and STEM Scholars.


National Day has its origin with the College Alumnae Club, which is the earliest name of NAUW. Organized on March 11, 1910, in Washington, D.C., the organization desired to stimulate young women to attain professional excellence, to exert influence in various movements for the civic good, and to promote a close personal and intellectual fellowship among professional women.


The four Founders are Mary Church Terrell, Sara Brown, Fairfax Brown, and Mary Cromwell. NAUW has cooperated with national and local social and economic programs and is affiliated with the National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, the National Coalition for Literacy, and the American Council on Education.


The Pine Bluff Branch was founded by the late Katie Bridget Jackson Pierre on February 8, 1945, with 15 Charter Members on the campus of AM&N College, now UAPB. During the past 72 years, the Pine Bluff Branch has committed itself to planning, devising, and organizing activities for enrichment in education, civic affairs, and human relations. Betty Wilkerson (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is the South Central Sectional Director. Evelyn L. Wright (Los Angeles, California) is the National President.


For more information, please contact Ms. Mary Liddell, President – Pine Bluff Branch of the National Association of University Women at (870) 643-2383.