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P.E.O. is a Philanthropic Educational Organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate each other to achieve their highest aspirations.
Seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa founded one of the original societies for women, P.E.O. on January 21, 1869. Originally, a small campus friendship society, P.E.O. soon grew to include women off campus.
P.E.O. has grown from the original membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters in the United States and Canada. P.E.O. is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. In Texas we have over 250 chapters and more than 10,500 active members.
Texas P.E.O. History
In 1902 Mary Florence Cowell, former treasurer of Missouri State Chapter, brought P.E.O. to Texas with the organization of Chapter A in Whitesboro on September 4. Texas State Chapter was organized in Whitesboro in 1928 with Mary Florence Cowell elected as the first state president. She is known as the “Mother of P.E.O. in Texas.” A Texas Historical Marker honoring her can be seen at her home in Whitesboro.
P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund
P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship
P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education
P.E.O. Scholar Awards
P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA) was established in 1991 to provide substantial merit–based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral level degree at an accredited college or university. The current award is $20,000.
P.E.O. STAR Scholarship
The P.E.O. STAR Scholarship was established in 2009 to provide non-renewable $2,500 scholarships to exceptional high school graduating women to attend accredited post-secondary educational institutions in the United States and Canada in the next academic year.