The branch funds the Inez Robb Scholarship, which is administered by the Idaho Community Foundation. In addition, Project Recognition awards outstanding high school students for their extra-curricular achievements.
Inez Robb Scholarship: Today
The AAUW Boise Area Branch Inez Robb Scholarship is awarded annually to a female degree-seeking junior or senior student attending Boise State University. The application deadline is April 1. Scholarship applications may be found at the Idaho Community Foundation’s website idcomfdn.org under the ‘Receive’ and ‘Scholarships’ tabs. Email questions to Nancy Otterness, branch scholarship contact. For more information, please read the presentation by Lauren Tassos, Idaho Community Foundation.
Or, mail your check, payable to AAUW Boise Area Branch, Inc., to Cathy Ransom, P. O. Box 2375, Eagle, ID 83616. Please specify “Inez Robb Scholarship donation” in the memo line of your check. THANK YOU for your generosity!
Inez Robb Scholarship: The Backstory
The branch’s scholarship tradition began in 1909, when the Boise Women’s College Club formed and began raising money with masked balls, puppet shows, teas and lectures. At that time, the club’s scholarships were restricted to female Boise High School graduates who would be attending the University of Idaho (U of I). After the establishment of Boise Junior College in 1932, a second award for freshman women was created.
In 1918, upon her Boise High School graduation, Inez Robb, nee Calloway, was awarded a $200 scholarship by the Boise Women’s College Club. Robb had already started her career path as the high school reporter for a Boise newspaper; she went on to attend the U of I and then University of Missouri’s Journalism School before embarking on a career as the most famous female reporter of her era.
Robb traveled the world covering many of the most important stories of her time, and wrote a syndicated daily column in Hearst newspapers for 15 years. She and her husband, public relations man Addison Robb, retired to Arizona prior to her death in 1979.
In her will, Inez Robb remembered the generosity of the College Women’s Club some 60 years earlier. A search by a Tucson lawyer led him to the AAUW Boise Branch, the descendant of the original club, which had affiliated with AAUW in the 1930s. Robb bequeathed one percent of her estate to what had become the AAUW Boise Branch, enabling the establishment of a scholarship in her memory in the early 1980s.
The scholarship fund grew thanks to the generous contributions and fundraising projects initiated by branch members over the years. When former branch president and prominent Boisean Maude Largent Cosho passed away in 1981, over $800 was endowed to the scholarship fund.
Finally, in 1997, Scholarship Committee Chair Nancy Otterness was instrumental in shifting governance from the AAUW Boise Branch Board Scholarship Committee to the Idaho Community Foundation (ICF), ensuring that the fund would prosper for years to come. Although the Inez Robb Memorial Scholarship Fund’s administration was entrusted to the ICF, the AAUW Boise Area Branch scholarship chair continues to participate in the annual selection of scholarship recipients.
To this day, the legacy that began nearly 100 years ago persists, inspiring and assisting young women to attain higher education and achieve their goals.
Compiled in 2014 by Kathy Haley from branch historical accounts including Boise Branch Newsletter articles: “Case of the Missing Heiress,” by Joanne Hunt Smith, Scholarship Committee, October 1997; and “Inez Robb Memorial Scholarship,” by Nancy Otterness, Scholarship Committee Chair, November 1997.