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It took a century, but men are finally getting equal access to Westminster College's Silver Tea.
For 99 years, the annual fundraising event, sponsored by the Woman's Board, has been a way for mothers, daughters, aunts and grandmothers to don hats and gloves and raise money for scholarships.
But on Saturday, as the event celebrates its 100th anniversary, organizers have determined it's time to break the gender barrier and extend an invitation to fathers, brothers, uncles and grandfathers.
"It is a wonderful way to celebrate the strength of women and our power to create opportunities through education," said Sandy Morgan, wife of Westminster College president Stephen Morgan and a woman's board member. She said her husband will attend the tea, and "I hope to see many other husbands, sons and supporters of student scholarships there."
Everyone who attends will get the royal treatment as past presidents and local dignitaries do some of the serving, said board member Renee Strand. "Being invited to pour tea is quite an honor."
Westminster's first Silver Tea was held May 10, 1916. At that time, the Woman's Board had 25 members, and each was instructed to invite 10 people to a tea. That year the group raised $33, which was used to help maintain the women's building on campus.
Through the years, the Silver Tea has grown and has become the board's most successful fundraising event and a tradition for many graduates and families in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City.
Last year, the Silver Tea raised almost $12,000. The money goes into an endowment fund, which provides 15 scholarships to female and male students each year. The endowment is about $100,000 shy of its $1 million goal, added Strand.
For those who haven't been to high tea and are a bit nervous about etiquette Strand said there are two simple rules. "Don't raise your pinkie finger. It's actually considered rude," she said. And when stirring sugar or cream into your tea, "never touch the sides of the cup with your spoon."
In addition to tea, there will be a silent auction, bake sale and plant sale. Hats can be rented for $5.
The Utah Historical Society also will display a dress and hat that belonged to Jeanette Ferry, who encouraged her husband, Col. William Ferry, to purchase land for a new college that would become Westminster more than a century ago.
100 Years of Tea
This year, men, women and children are invited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Westminster Silver Tea, sponsored by the Woman's Board. The annual event includes high tea, a silent auction and plant sale. All proceeds go toward student scholarships. Hats and gloves encouraged.
When • Saturday, May 14, 1 to 4 p.m.
Where • Field House inside the Eccles Health, Wellness and Athletic Center, 1840 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City
Cost • Adults, $35; children 12 and younger, $15; at westminstercollege.edu/silvertea or 801-832-2735