Timeline of AADC History in Honor of Our 100th Anniversary

As we continue to celebrate our AADC 100th: Proud History to Bright Future — officially marked on June 10, 2022 —
We are pleased to share some of our many milestones and proud moments from our founding through our momentous anniversary. Special thanks to all of the dedicated AADC volunteers for their work in creating our historical timeline.

Click on the red arrows to explore our timeline 


The Class of 1922, the first graduation class, established the Associate Alumnae of New Jersey College for Women (AANJC).

 Today we are known as the beloved Associate Alumnae of Douglass College (AADC).

In 1927, the AADC became incorporated when the Class of 1922 established AANJC as a tax-exempt organization at their milestone 5th Reunion.
 Publication began of the monthly “Bulletin” for updates on alumnae about classmates.

The AADC set up fundraising events beginning a long history of support for the mission of the AADC.

 Through a bequest from James Neilson, the Alumnae House was established using the “cottage".
• Penny Fund set up in 1926, requesting $3.65 annually from every alumna.
• The Annual Fund, the predecessor of the Douglass Annual Fund, was created in 1929 to carry out the mission of the AADC at that time, with the remaining balance donated to the College.

Establishment of 19 districts (clubs) in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia areas, now known as AADC Regional Connection Groups.
• AANJC helped spread the word during the Depression about the College. Enrollment was reported to be just over 900.
• Alumnae Fund created for donation of “gifts” instead of dues, first at $2, later raised to $3 in 1940.

Alumnae-led: The volunteer led association hired its first executive director as paid staff to engage our alumnae community and promote the mission.


First NJC alumnae Reunion Day awards presented.

 Eleanor Roosevelt hosted dinner at Alumnae House at Woodlawn.
• First Founders Day celebration held on February 12, 1946.
• 25th Anniversary attracted 3,400 alumnae and friends and 71 birthday parties held.
• Student Center “Dime Fundraiser” held 1948-49 with $12,000 goal.


First alumnae Directory published; AANJC maintained records of 5,000 alumnae.


AADC moved from Woodlawn to “the Cottage” on the former James Neilson property. Woodlawn subsequently became home of the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics.

 NJC Name changed to Douglass College in honor of the first and founding Dean, Mabel Smith Douglass, and a new emblem was introduced.


100% of the Class of 1922 made gifts to the AADC for their 40th Anniversary in 1962.
• Phone-athons began to raise funds to support the mission of the AADC.
• June 1961 – AADC donated $75,000 to the new Douglass Library.

• For the 40th Anniversary of the College and to assist in a budget crisis, AADC donated $20,000 to the Dean’s Fund.


The AADC established the Douglass Fund as a trust for the exclusive use of the College with a gift of $1,000. This fund continues today and is stewarded by Douglass Alumnae Trustees.


The Extern Program, created by Executive Director Adelaide Marcus Zagoren ’40, was created to match students with alumnae for real-life work experiences.
• 1971 – AADC contributed to the Women’s Artist Series.
• For its 50th Anniversary, the AADC donated $25,000 to the Dean’s Fund.

• 1973 – The first members of the Douglass Society were inducted. The Society is now known as the AADC Society of Excellence and recognizes alumnae who have excelled in their fields.


1981 – The Black Alumnae Network (BAN) was established. Five years later, BAN inaugurated its first Jewel Plummer Cobb Award for a Black student on the basis of merit.
• AADC provided funding for the new Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in Math, Science and Engineering (STEM)
• 1982 – First L’Hommedieu Lecture held. This series is now part of the AADC’s Life-long Learning Initiative and has brought in renowned speakers. It is named for Frances L’Hommedieu of the Class of 1926 and funded by her family.
• Rutgers reorganized undergraduate education and Douglass faculty and buildings became part of Rutgers University. The AADC helped to support the College during this transition.


AADC held its first capital campaign, “The Campaign for Douglass,” for the 75th anniversary of the College and raised $10.4 million from 1991-1995, surpassing its goal of $7.5 million.
• AADC helped fund the Institute for Women’s Leadership.
• The AADC’s second capital campaign, “Douglass, Always a Leader,” raised $29 million from 1998-2004, surpassing its goal of $26 million.


Affinity networks Young Alumnae Network, Asian Alumnae Network, Latina Alumnae Network, Bunting Connections and Pride Network established, joining the Black Alumnae Network, previously established.


The Alumnae Cottage was renovated and expanded thanks to a $1 million gift from Edward Hennessy for his wife Ruth, Class of 1950. The building, now called the Ruth Schilling Hennessy Alumnae Center, is owned by Rutgers and the AADC pays rent for its use.
• The AADC made an unprecedented gift of $1 million to Douglass College and its Dean, Carmen Twillie Ambar, for use determined by the Dean.


The AADC mobilized our community to “Save Douglass College” as Rutgers institutes “Transformation of Undergraduate Education,” eliminating Rutgers College, Livingston and Cook.

• Alumnae supported each other and the AADC in this effort through rallies, Town Hall meetings and outreach to legislators.


AADC kicked off “Innovative Education, Women’s Leadership” the capital campaign held in conjunction with Rutgers’ University-wide campaign.


2012 – Rebecca Skloot, author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” delivered the L’Hommedieu Lecture.
• The AADC joined with Rutgers to present the Skloot lecture in a larger facility on campus, welcoming more than 1,000 to the lecture.
• 2013 – Piper Kerman, author of the popular book “Orange is the New Black,” came to campus to deliver the L’Hommedieu Lecture.


The AADC concluded the capital campaign, raising $42 million, exceeding its $35 million goal. In three capital campaigns, the AADC raised in excess of $80 million to provide continued support to Douglass Residential College and her students and to continue the mission of the AADC.

 The Campaign for Douglass Co-Chairs were Alice Herman ’70, left, and the late Joyce Albers Schonberg ’65, pictured.
• Alumnae rallied with a “Save AADC” campaign to assure the future existence of the alumnae association for NJC, Douglass and DRC alumnae.
• The Kathleen Whitehead Ludwig House opened as part of the Global Village on the Jameson campus, thanks to donations made to the AADC for the Capital campaign to help fund the first new building on the campus in decades. The AADC played an integral role in the design and funding of the building.

July 20, 2016

The AADC and the Rutgers parties signed an agreement outlining roles and responsibilities for each group. The AADC continued as a charter member of the Rutgers University Alumni Association. AADC changed its mission to a renewed focus on alumnae programs, events, communications and connections.
• AADC continued to steward the Douglass Fund for the benefit of the College and its students.
• Douglass Society renamed AADC Society of Excellence.
• Douglass Medal renamed the AADC Medal.


AADC launched the Victoria Dabrowski Schmidt ’42 Workplace and Professional Development Symposium to provide professional development opportunities for Douglass alumnae and to facilitate professional networking among alumnae and friends. Hundreds of alumnae have participated since the initiative was started.


AADC Mabel’s Alumnae Mentoring Program started, matching alumnae mentees with alumnae mentors for assistance in developing and achieving professional development goals.
• Today the program continues and is known as Douglass Alumnae Mentoring.


AADC commemorated its 95th Anniversary with a grand “Forward Together” Gala attracting 300+ people.
• 2018 – “AADC Smart Talks” launched as part of the AADC’s Women’s Life-long Learning Initiative. “Smart Talks” delivered information on genealogy, finance, health and other topics of interest to alumnae.
• The AADC Black Alumnae Network (BAN) established its annual Sisters Conference, named for Jewel Plummer Cobb, first Black Dean of Douglass.
• AADC kicked off a “Sisterhood Book Club.”
• AADC hosts its annual Celebrates Founders Day Luncheon.


AADC Excellence in Inclusion and Equity Initiative series developed with seed donation from Dr. Debra Perez ‘84.
• In 2020, the workshops went virtual and included Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway, a variety of hosts and speakers from the alumnae community to promote better understanding while addressing issues of racism, code-switching and other topics.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AADC transitioned to remote work and presented programs virtually, including new ones, that connected alumnae and friends from near and far.
• Planning for the 100th Anniversary of the AADC began under the leadership of co-chairs Debbie Lynch ’79 and Ikecia Lenese Mapp ’01 with the theme: “Proud History to Bright Future.”
• 2021: The AADC hosted the first-ever virtual L’Hommedieu Lecture, which featured Dr. Bernice A. King, a global thought leader, peace advocate and CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), which was founded by her mother, the late Coretta Scott King.


AADC commemorates a century of making an impact, welcoming alumnae, friends and community partners to its spectacular Proud History to Bright Future 100th Anniversary Gala in June, hosted 100 years after the organization was founded on June 10, 1922.
In June, our community returned to campus to celebrate at AADC Alumnae Reunion Weekend 2022.
• On August 22, the AADC announced a new era as an independent 501(c)(3) organization that will continue to serve alumnae and foster new relationships within Rutgers University. The Agreement previously signed by the AADC and the Rutgers Parties in July of 2016 officially expired.