The late Irene Rudnick, who helped found USC Aiken and served as Superintendent of Education for Aiken County, was among the 15 individuals honored by the Aiken Chapter of the American Association of University Women on Oct. 7.

Accepting a certificate on Rudnick’s behalf during An Evening of Honor: Named Gift Recipients’ Recognition Dinner were her children, Morris Rudnick and Helen Rapoport.

The event was held at the Daniel Lloyd Jr. Educational Complex in Aiken.

Rudnick, who died earlier this year at the age of 89, was the first Jewish woman elected to the Palmetto State’s legislature, according to the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina.

She also was an attorney.

“It meant a lot,” said Rapoport of the posthumous recognition. “My mother had been a longtime member of AAUW. When she moved to Aiken, she got involved very quickly, and she, along with others, really pushed for USC Aiken to be established. She always told me stories about AAUW, and she had such good friends (in the organization) that I got to know through the years.”

The Aiken Branch honored one individual for each gift of $500 it made this year to the national AAUW.

The biggest fundraiser for the Aiken Branch is the Books ’n’ Things Fair. The 2019 edition, held in early March, set a record, raising more than $50,000.

"My father (Harold Rudnick) had a furniture store, and he used to provide the tables for the book sale," Rapoport said.

An Aiken Branch committee selected the honorees based on their work as educators, Aiken Branch members or spouses and Books ’n’ Things Fair Volunteers.

Among those recognized in addition to Irene Rudnick were Marshall Cain, Dr. Kent Cubbage, Lee Dane, Dr. Doris Hickson, Pam Leitz, Emilee Meek, Eric Muhlbaier and Suzanne Ozment.

The others were Francesca Pataro, Dr. Frank Roberson, Debbie Sessions, Sheila Suggs-Green, Cindy Ward and Sharon Worley.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.