Our History

Sharon Jones and Barb Hendricks
Sharon Jones and Barb Hendricks

The San Antonio Professional Chapter’s first Publicity Clinic took place on October 11, 1949 at Municipal Auditorium.  Approximately 160 people attended to learn how to get their organizations’ activities into print – evolving into today’s Media Workshop for Nonprofits annual event.  Since the beginning, AWC members have volunteered for a wide range of community communication services.

The first Matrix Table Dinner was held in 1952 “to salute those gracious and capable women who have been our headliners” and to raise money for scholarships and other projects.  Now, the San Antonio Professional Chapter hosts the annual Headliner Awards celebration annually.  The Headliner Awards honor excellence in education, professional achievement, public endeavor, volunteer service, and service to AWC.

Our Chapter Headliner Award was renamed the Maggie Cousins Headliner Award in 1996 in recognition of Maggie’s commitment to AWC for 44 years.  Author, journalist, Managing Editor of Good Housekeeping for many years, she was a national Headliner in 1946, the second year the award was presented.

The Harriet Ross Individual Achievement Award was established in 1993 to honor an individual whose achievements are an inspiration to others.  Harriet, also a long-time loyal AWC member, was active in the community with the McNay Museum, Youth Orchestra of San Antonio and the San Antonio Botanical Society.  Her career spanned Oklahoma and Texas and included journalism, writing and public affairs.  She was a consummate organizer and a perfectionist who demanded only the best from herself and others.

The Edna McGaffey Media Excellence Award was established in 1994 in honor of Edna McGaffey, longtime AWC member and President from 1966 to 1968.  Edna was the Kelly Air Force Base historian for 18 years and, later, feature writer and columnist for the Express-News for 20 years.  She was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame.

Another important signature event is the Freedom of Information program, usually held in March.  This event features an outstanding speaker or panel, is of general community interest and demonstrates AWC’s on-going commitment to First Amendment Rights.

One of the early projects of Theta Sig in San Antonio was assistance to young journalists in high school.  Through Edith Fox King, a journalism teacher at San Antonio Vocational and Technical High School, AWC sponsored a program for all high school journalism students.  For the past several decades, AWC has sponsored a Meet the Pros event where professionals in a variety of areas head tables and students move to several of the tables to learn about career fields in which they are interested.  San Antonio College has been a co-sponsor of this event by providing the location and promoting it in the award-winning student newspaper, The Ranger.  The Ajay Castro Scholarship for Re-Entering Women was established in 1989.

AWC holds a bi-annual international conference, and San Antonio hosted the event in 1962 and 1989.  San Antonio members assisted with the 1994 international conference in Dallas and hosted the Southwest Regional Conference, “Beyond the Borders,” in the Spring of 1995.

AWC was very active in the formation of the San Antonio Communications Council in 1989 and is a founding member of Can We Talk?, a coalition of diverse women’s groups, created in 1987.