University of Chicago Service League

Founded in 1895 by University of Chicago faculty wives as "The University of Chicago Settlement League," to meet the needs of the Mary McDowell Settlement House, The University of Chicago Service League announced its intention "to arouse interest in and to give financial support to the University Settlement House, to study sociological questions and to promote social intercourse."

Over the years, Service League members have supported the programs of Settlement house founder Mary McDowell and her successors in myriad ways. They volunteered in Settlement House programs in the Packingtown neighborhood, lobbied for education and sanitation reform, and in the 1920s purchased land and built a summer camp for inner city children and their families. Service League members have continuously supported League philanthropies by staging imaginative benefits and fundraising endeavors.

The University of Chicago Service League is a group of community-minded women who support local philanthropies. We meet monthly for general interest programs, which are followed by tea and conversation. We also meet in a variety of special interest groups. Men are always welcome at our program meetings and special interest group meetings.

The Service League's monthly newsletter keeps members informed of upcoming Program and Special Interest Group meetings and includes news from our Philanthropies and the previous month's meetings.

Service League Board and Committee members keep the Service League functioning and we have an Annual Benefit and Bazaar in November and a Spring Wine and Cheese event in the spring to support our Philanthropies.

Mary McDowell's hat on University of Chicago shield
Mary McDowell's hat on University of Chicago shield

Mary McDowell's hat whimsically adorns the University of Chicago shield.

Our History