Madelyn Scales Harris, Diane Turnham co-chair annual Equali-Tea

Mar 21, 2018 at 11:09 am by AAUW-Murfreesboro

Two Murfreesboro legends have stepped up to lead the Murfreesboro branch of the American Association of University Women as it presents Equali-Tea: A High Tea in April on MTSU campus.

Chaired this year by Madelyn Scales Harris and Diane Turnham, the second annual Equali-Tea is a social, fundraiser, and educational program all in one.

"This is a great event," emphasized Scales Harris. "Everyone should come and bring their friends."

This event raises scholarship and programming funds for the Middle Tennessee Fund for Women and Girls, a nonprofit organization in support of the mission of AAUW Murfreesboro: to level the playing field for women and girls in education and in the workforce.

"This year, we will have a chance to talk about how important Title IX has been for building women's collegiate athletics," said Diane Turnham, MTSU's senior associate athletic director and senior women's athletics administrator. "And, we get to contribute to scholarships that benefit women returning to complete a college degree. It's a great program."

Diane Turnham is in her 35th year with the Blue Raiders. Voted MTSU's employee of the year for 2001-02, Turnham has served two stints as the department's interim athletic director and was elected into the Blue Raider Hall of Fame in 2012.

She is currently serving her second of five years on the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee.

Turnham's co-chair, Madelyn Scales Harris, is Murfreesboro vice mayor, the same post her father Robert "Tee-niny" Scales held. She was born and raised in Murfreesboro, educated in the Murfreesboro City Schools, Central High School, and received her bachelor's degree from MTSU in 1974.

"We are so very fortunate to count these talented women as this year's co-chairs," said Dia Cirillo, branch president. "The branch began right at the time that MTSU was founded. We are just continuing with this great tradition."

Set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, Equali-Tea will be held in the MTSU Miller Education Center, 503 E Bell St, in Murfreesboro.

The event will be catered by The Curious Kitchen, which is owned and operated by Rachel and Helena Spensatelli. The Curious Kitchen will serve a three-course high tea, complete with continuous table-side tea service.

Reservations are required and offered at no cost. Attendees will be invited to make a contribution to the Fund at the event. Your sponsorship of the event and your donation are both tax-deductible.

For more information about the 2018 Equali-TEA, visit or send us an email at

The (hats optional) High Tea also marks Equal Pay Day, the day that symbolizes how long women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

In addition to marking Equal Pay Day, the high tea event will help raise funds for two AAUW Murfreesboro scholarships that are offered to MTSU students.

"Murfreesboro has been home to the branch for over 100 years and the branch has been offering a scholarship for 50 years," said Dr. B. Ayne Cantrell, professor emeritus of English from MTSU.

The Ruth Houston Memorial Scholarship supports women 24 years and older who are returning to finish their undergraduate degree. Applicants must demonstrate academic promise and financial need.

In 2015, the group marked its 100th anniversary by creating a second scholarship, named for long-time AAUW members Mattie Butler and Leola Fouts.

The Butler-Fouts Graduate Scholarship is presented to female graduate students from underrepresented ethnic or racial groups. Applicants must demonstrate academic promise and financial need as well as be enrolled in a graduate program at MTSU.

Each scholarship will provide $2,000 for the school year 2018-19.

The 2018 Equali-Tea is sponsored by First Tennessee, MTSU, Farrar | Wright, Dr. Liz Rhea, Dr. Susan Andrews of Family Practice Partners and Friends of AAUW.

About AAUW Murfreesboro

Organized in 1913, AAUW Murfreesboro is a membership organization of college-educated individuals from all walks of life who share a common purpose—to level the playing field for women and girls in education and in the workplace.

Our branch does this through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. We are part of a national and state network that supports our work right here in Murfreesboro. Our national organization (200,000 members strong) is a powerful voice on women's issues in Washington, D.C. Our Tennessee organization unifies our presence throughout the state, bringing together all seven branches in Memphis, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Martin, Knoxville, Maryville, and Oak Ridge.


or Register to post a comment