Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

They're Looking for Bats for a Big Farewell Party

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

They're Looking for Bats for a Big Farewell Party

Article excerpt

THIS IS an all-points bulletin for BATS. Not little winged mammals, but the Born Again Theta Sigs.

This elite group is an offshoot of Women in Communications, Inc., the first national organization for women journalists. Originally, the group was called Theta Sigma Phi, founded in 1909 at the University of Washington at Seattle. In 1972, the organization changed its name to WICI. In honor of the good old days, some WICI members in St. Louis formed BATS in 1980.

Now that that's settled, here is the bad news: WICI is looking for BATS (and fallen-away members of WICI, as well) because the local chapter is folding. Nationally, the organization is bankrupt. Under a reorganization plan, WICI will again change names, this time to the Association of Women in Communications. Local chapters that care to come along will be assessed a fee, and members also must pay a start-up charge above and beyond the usual dues. At one time, the organization had more than 10,000 members. Today, some 5,000 women belong. In St. Louis, 50 women are active, down from more than 200 during the group's heyday in the 1960s and '70s. Declining membership, here and nationally, is due to the many such professional organizations now open to women. `There is nothing wrong with choosing to bring things to a close," said Suzanne Corbett, president of the local chapter. "When you have a beginning, you always have an ending, too. We intend to go out with style and class." The big party is set for Dec. 10. Members and former members (including those feisty BATS) may call 351-9666 for reservations. The St. Louis chapter was founded in 1927, so the final event is actually an early birthday party, said Corbett. "We are proud of our 70 years of excellence. We'll give credit where credit is due, we'll embrace one another, and we'll celebrate the many accomplishments of our fine communications professionals." Corbett joined WICI in 1988 and has served as president since June. She is a food historian, a teacher and a food writer and editor. She also produces food-related videos and films. She credits the organization with changing her life. "Women in Communications showed me how to take an unusual niche, an unusual talent, and turn it into something special," Corbett said. …

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