Nationality Rooms Program Director Ruth Crawford Mitchell founded the Women's International Luncheon Club on August 4, 1939, just one year after the completion of the first Nationality Classroom in the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. The Nationality Rooms Program itself originated from a wish to celebrate and explore Pittsburgh's multinational and multicultural background as well as garner support from the Pittsburgh community for the construction of the Cathedral of Learning. The club's foundation was an extension of this intercultural mission. The original members were female representatives of the Nationality Room Committees who met to exchange progress reports on the developing rooms.
The club accordingly became a communication hub for the classroom committees. Almost immediately after its founding, the club faced the disunity that came with the emerging conflict in Europe. Because of its purposeful exclusion of political affiliation or motive, the club met with enthusiastic interest from Pittsburgh women eager to forestall wartime disunion. Members assembled regularly at luncheons to discuss current events and view lectures by faculty speakers in Political Science, History and Languages. The organization assumed its current name, the Women's International Club, on October 23, 1947 to better reflect its goals of global consciousness, outreach and learning. In 1961 the club began awarding scholarships to University students interested in pursuing studies abroad. Permanent funding was secured by the 1975 publication of The Nationality Rooms Recipe Book, the proceeds of which subsidized the endowment that funds the Women's International Club (WIC) summer abroad scholarship. Although the book was essentially a WIC project, it benefited from contributions by the Nationality Rooms committee members and the Nationality Rooms Office administrative staff.
The Women's International Club meets quarterly and remains a co-sponsor in the Summer Study Abroad scholarship program.
For more information on the history Women’s Club, please visit: Guide to the Women's International Club Records, 1944-2011 UA.40.01.01 | Documenting Pitt