La Palma-Cerritos AAUW

La Palma-Cerritos AAUW celebrates its 50th Anniversary

On November 17, the Skyline Room of the Cerritos Library was festively decorated to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Prior to the branch business meeting, members and former members enjoyed seeing pictures, publicity articles and other memorabilia that were on display showing some of the branch’s activities over the past 50 years.

Hospitality Chair Ceci Borja-Van Zitter and her volunteer committee had placed black and gold 50th anniversary centerpieces on each table surrounded by small gold number 50’s confetti and chocolate candy covered with gold paper.

Following the brief business meeting, everyone was invited to get the special refreshments. Member Gail Ross had baked and beautifully decorated a unique cake of cupcakes that she frosted so that it looked like a rectangular sheet cake. Member Marilyn Forsstrom baked her three-layered Heavenly Squares as an additional treat. There also was sparkling cider so that everyone could lift their glasses to toast the 50th Anniversary.

As part of the celebration, proclamations in honor of the chartering of the branch in November 1972 were shown and presented by long-time member Edna Ethington and branch president Celia Spitzer. Edna read the proclamations from the City of La Palma and California State Senator Josh Newman and Celia read the proclamation from the City of Cerritos and the Certificates of Recognition from AAUW National and AAUW California. The AAUW ones specifically noted the branch’s 50 years of working to fulfill the AAUW Mission of advancing equity for women and girls through education, research, and advocacy.

Program Co-VP Faith Herschler introduced long-time continuous branch members Dorothy Edwards, Thea Siegel, and Mary Ann Quinn who read portions of the branch history from the 40th Anniversary booklet. They also gave an update covering the past ten years. Of special note was that, over the years, the branch has raised over $128,000 for various AAUW Funds. The printed update, including information about the terms of the past presidents from 2013 to the present, was distributed to members and guests and is available on the branch’s website.

Faith coordinated presentations by many of the past branch presidents about their terms in office. They highlighted special events and monthly meeting programs. Of the 35 past presidents, 12 did so in person and four others had sent remembrances via email, which were read by Faith. One was from charter member Tobi Balma who is the only continuous member of the branch since its founding. The last president in the branch’s 5 th decade, Beverly Zwick, thanked everyone who helped her during her presidency in 2020-2022.

At the close of the celebration, Celia thanked everyone for coming to help celebrate the anniversary. She especially thanked Ceci and Faith for all their hard work in planning and implementing this special event.

For further information about AAUW La Palma – Cerritos, contact Membership co-VP Jackie Shahzadi at