Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Reflect and Celebrate: P.E.O. convention 2023

 I left home on Friday with plenty of time to arrive at the convention hotel in west suburban Lombard.  I planned to check into my room and then attend a committee meeting at 3 p.m.  When I got on I-94 and accelerated to merge with traffic the front end of the car started shuddering.   Badly.   [It had done that, but not as badly, when I went to Peoria in early May but I made it there and home okay.  It's been fine all month -- but I haven't driven at interstate speed, either.]   Shuddering both personally and vehicularly, I took the next exit (2 miles), drove (fast) on non-interstate roads back home.  I rushed into the house, hollered to Stevens and VH (our housecleaner/caregiver) that I needed his car, transferred my suitcase, and rushed out again.   Mind you, Stevens had offered me his car and I said no, I was already packed.  Had I not taken my car out I wouldn't have known that the problem was not resolved.  Had we not had a second car I'd have been stuck.  Had I been any farther from an exit I might have had a breakdown in heavy traffic.........I sent a text the committee coordinator to say I'd be late and I did not miss much from meeting.

# # # # # # # 

 I have attended 11 of the 120 Illinois state conventions.  

The theme, Reflect and Celebrate: We ARE P.E.O. was carried out in all the activities.

The schedule was packed.   

I was on a convention committee (credentials) and I continue on a special committee (Ten-Year History).  

P.E.O. was begun in 1869 by seven young women at Iowa Wesleyan College.   

My good friend Fran presented a program about P.E.O. heritage and helped dispel many misunderstandings (="It's always been this way!" but, no, it hasn't.)   

As a Philanthropic Educational Organization we support women's education and welfare.  (Statistics are cumulative.) 

* Educational Loan Fund (ELF) -- 51,110 recipients, $242,589,000     (Low-interest loans for post high school education/training.)

* Program for Continuing Education:  53,282 recipients, $70,468,000    (For women whose higher education has been interrupted.)  

* International Peace Scholarship: 6,991 recipients, $47,637,000   (For women from other countries doing graduate work at U.S. universities.) 

*Scholar Awards:  2,836 recipients, $34,282,000
(For doctoral-level support.)

* Star Scholarship:  7,906 recipients, $19.686,000  (Merit-based award for high school graduating seniors)

*Since 1927 P.E.O. has owned Cottey College, a liberal arts college for women in Nevada, Missouri.    In the 2022-23 academic year Illinois Cottey Scholarship Fund awarded $52,500 to five Cottey students from Illinois.

* I've served on the committees for the two Illinois projects.  
The Lulu Corkhill Williams Friendship Fund  provides grants to Illinois women and men with immediate financial emergencies.   This year Lulu awarded 41 grants totaling $91,200. 
 The Home Fund provides grants to Illinois women over age 65 who need assistance with housing expenses.   This year the Home Fund awarded 34 grants totaling $198,729.

So that's Philanthropy and Education.    The Organization part?  Sisterhood and friendship!  It was so easy to strike up conversations.   Friday evening Dede (from my chapter) and I had dinner with two women from a downstate chapter.  It turned out that one is a quilter and the other is on their town library board. (And I have been invited to the dedication of restored historic murals at that library.)

Dede and me in the photo booth.  (My t-shirt lists the seven founders.)

My roommate Sharon was delightful.  


At the Projects Dinner on Saturday Courtney spoke about her journey.  Our chapter sponsored her for a PCE grant.  She used it for her MSW studies and is now a counselor at a domestic violence agency in Chicago. 

 My chapter sisters at the Honors Luncheon. Diane (left) was honored as a Golden Girl -- 50 years.   

The list of honor members included two for 80 years -- which means they're at least 98 -- one for 85 years -- at least 103!  (None of them attended.) 

And there were P.E.O.s whom I've known in other areas of my life.  

Sue, Carolyn, and I are Alpha Gamma Delta sisters.  (And Sue and Carolyn learned this spring that they are collegiate chapter sisters -- ten years apart.)

Marlene is an AAUW friend.

Jane is an AAUW friend and a Rotarian.

I met Sharon through United Methodist Women.  She, Becky, and I are in the online P.E.O. book group.

Peggy is a longtime ALA friend.

Jeannine is a GFWC and quilting buddy.

The 2023-24 theme is right up my alley!  


  1. Oh, car trouble on the highway is no fun at all. Glad you were able to change cars. Looks like you had a busy, but fun meeting.

  2. scary car trouble story! I'm glad you were able to over come it. I was fascinated to see your book shelves quilts, including last week - I have been on the trail of that pattern for some time, but the designer doesn't seem to be in business anymore. I keep thinking I might be able to figure it out on my own, but so far haven't really tried. Maybe this summer.

    I also have a family connection with Cottey College - my dad grew up in Nevada, Missouri, and his older sister went to Cottey College; she was born in 1922. My dad took some classes there between high school and being called up after he enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor, but graduated elsewhere. Small world.


  3. looks like lots of fun....glad you arrived safe without a breakdown...

  4. Close call! Thanks for explaining PEO.

  5. Just glad you made it safely, car problems are so scarey! Interesting post on PEO, I had heard of them but was unsure of their mission. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for explaining PEO. Looks like you all had fun. Sorry about the car trouble, glad you made it without a breakdown.

  7. P.E.O. sister from PA..looks like a wonderful convention! Waiting to hear a report on ours

  8. Looks like it must have been a great meeting if the smiles on everyone's faces are any indication. So glad you got home safely and had an alternative car available.

  9. I am so excited for this year's theme! I hear it's in Peoria, which means that I hope to go!!!!


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