2 December 2021:
About Maryland Mensa
Maryland Mensa is a local group of American Mensa, which in turn is the largest national Mensa organization operating today under Mensa International, Limited: The International High IQ Society.
Maryland Mensa Today
American Mensa is divided into ten regions across the U.S., which collectively contain 130-plus local groups. Maryland Mensa is local group number 210 and is part of region 2—the Middle Atlantic. Region 2 contains nine other local groups:
- Central New Jersey Mensa (local group 070);
- Delaware Valley Mensa (080);
- Central Pennsylvania Mensa (170);
- Lehigh Pocono Mensa (181);
- Delaware Mensa (197);
- Metropolitan Washington Mensa (200);
- Richmond Area Mensa (224);
- Thomas Jefferson Mensa (227); and
- Tidewater Mensa (233).
Maryland Mensa (MM) is defined by geography: It contains all of Maryland except for Montgomery County and Prince Georges County, which are part of Metropolitan Washington Mensa (MWM). MM is bordered on the south by MWM, Tidewater Mensa, and Richmond Area Mensa; on the east by Delaware Mensa; on the north by Delaware Valley Mensa and Central Pennsylvania Mensa; and on the west by Vandalia Mensa (part of region 3: Great Lakes and Ohio Valley).
As of late November 2021, Maryland Mensa’s membership total was 636, which ranked the group 23rd in order of size in American Mensa (tied with Mensa of Wisconsin, just above Central Texas Mensa, and just behind Connecticut/Western Massachusetts Mensa). MWM is the largest local group in region 2, with a little over 1800 members; and Delaware Mensa is the smallest, at just over 160. The largest group in American Mensa is currently Greater Los Angeles Mensa, with not quite 1900 members. The smallest group is currently South Mississippi Mensa, with just under 60.
The gender mix of Maryland’s Mensans is two-thirds male/one-third female, which is nearly identical to the national mix of men and women in Mensa. The gender mix of the 15 voting members on the American Mensa Committee today is just the opposite: ten women and five men. Maryland Mensa’s current leadership also skews female: five of the nine voting members of its Executive Committee are women, with the remaining four men. Maryland Mensa keeps no membership age statistics, but nationally, about 12 percent of American Mensans are from the Silent generation (born between 1925 and 1942), nearly 40 percent are Baby Boomers (1943-1960); about 30 percent are Gen-Xers (1961-1981); 13 percent are Millennials (1982-2000); and about five percent are from Generation Z (2001-2020). Fewer than one percent were born in the Depression era (1901-1924). Nearly 15 percent of Maryland Mensans are life members of Mensa—that is, they’ve paid lump sums currently ranging from $1604 for a nine-year-old through $153 for a centenarian to secure membership in American Mensa for the remainder of their lives.
Maryland Mensa’s calendar listings ordinarily range from six to 10 events per month, with another 30 or so activities sponsored by Metropolitan Washington Mensans in each consolidated MM-MWM calendar. All of the members of both groups are invited to attend all of each other’s events. Typical activities include a monthly meeting of Maryland Mensa (usually with a speaker), dinners, discussion groups, house parties, games (including bridge), visits to local institutions (e.g., art galleries, museums, the Supreme Court), concerts, lectures, theater (live and film), target shooting, lunches, book swaps, hikes, gifted youth programs, and so forth.
MM’s members are distributed across the state as shown below, with the largest single concentration in the greater Baltimore area.
Of the nine voting members on Maryland Mensa’s governing Executive Committee (ExComm), eight are elected officers: President and Local Secretary, First Vice President (Membership), Second Vice President (Programs), Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Recording Secretary, and two At-large Members; with the ninth a formerly elected officer: the Immediate Past President and Local Secretary. The ExComm also includes several non-voting, appointed positions, including a scholarship chair; a website director; a regional gathering chair; geographic subgroup coordinators for the eastern shore, western Maryland, northern Maryland, southern Maryland, and Annapolis; a social media coordinator; a S.I.G.H.T. coordinator (Service of Information, Guidance, and Hospitality to Travelers); a proctor (testing) coordinator; a gifted youth coordinator; a parliamentary advisor; a Mensa license plate coordinator for Maryland automotive tags; a newsletter circulation manager; and a mediator. The responsibilities of all these positions are described in either Article III (Officers and Duties) of MM’s bylaws or in paragraph 13 of MM’s special and standing rules.
Maryland Mensa’s Beginnings
Henry Cowan, an employee training specialist living in Linthicum Heights and one of the earliest members of Mensa in Maryland, wrote to American Mensa headquarters in New York City in 1964 to suggest forming a local group. American Mensa not only endorsed his idea but mailed him a list of other Mensans living in Maryland—there were fewer than 50 at the time—and appointed him the group’s Local Secretary (that is, president). By the fall of 1964, Henry had managed to contact enough Mensans in Maryland to convene a face-to-face meeting.
Henry was employed by Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group (now Northrop Grumman Mission Systems) at Friendship Airport (now Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) and was able to persuade his boss to give him free use of a room at the facility for once-a-month meetings. Westinghouse’s strict security regulations required all M’s planning to attend each meeting to tell Henry of their intent at least a day ahead of time, and whether they intended to bring spouses or friends. Everyone who came had to be checked into the Westinghouse area by security guards on arrival. Only those whose names were on Henry’s list were admitted.
This was not well received.
Things improved in February 1965 when a member volunteered her large home in Baltimore County to be used for monthly meetings. Attendance mushroomed, and soon committees were formed to write local bylaws and develop future activities. Draft bylaws were presented and adopted at the September 1965 meeting, and the local group was officially organized under the name “Mensa of Baltimore”. Marian Neufeld was elected as Mensa of Baltimore’s first Local Secretary, and annual dues for the group were set at $3. (Maryland Mensa no longer solicits dues from its members. Its principal source of recurring income today is a monthly stipend from American Mensa currently fixed at about 85 cents per member.)
In November of 1965, Rosalie Maggitti began publication of The Baltimore Mensa News, a newsletter to announce the time, place, and subject of meetings; and to bring the membership up to date on other local group activities. The newsletter soon doubled in size, from one page to two.
The growing group’s largest gathering occurred when Tommy D’Alessandro III—brother of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives today—spoke at a monthly meeting in the run-up to Baltimore’s 1966 mayoral election. Fifty Baltimore Mensans heard him say that he hoped to call upon Mensa’s services as a think tank during his administration. (Mayor D’Alessandro served Baltimore from 1967 to 1971 but did not reach out to Mensa again.)
In 1967, the then-Local Secretary of Mensa in Baltimore, Jack McNulty, held a contest for a new name for the group’s newsletter. M-Anation won and began publication in February 1968. It soon grew to four pages.
In April 1968, with membership reaching 110, the group petitioned the American Mensa Committee to incorporate most of Maryland—from west of Hagerstown through the Eastern Shore, less Montgomery and PG counties—into Mensa of Baltimore. American Mensa agreed.
In 1972, Maryland Mensa purchased its own mimeograph machine and began to publish M-Anation on its own. Production costs dropped dramatically, and the newsletter’s size doubled again to eight pages.
In 1974, the group formally changed its name to Maryland Mensa. At the same time, it assumed responsibility for all of Maryland except for the Washington, DC area and the southernmost part of the state. With American Mensa’s permission, it also incorporated the 254XX zip code area of West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. In 1976, Maryland Mensa and Metropolitan Washington Mensa negotiated a geographic trade: Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties in Southern Maryland moved from MWM to MM, and West Virginia’s eastern panhandle became part of MWM.
In 1975, Royall Whitaker formed the Annapolis subgroup of Maryland Mensa, with monthly meetings in the Naval Academy’s Alumni Club. The setting proved so attractive that fully 50 percent of Annapolis area Mensans routinely participated. The site for “Mensalon East” meetings subsequently shifted to the Academy’s officers’ club, where it remained a popular draw until stringent security measures in the aftermath of 9/11 made routine admission to the Naval Academy grounds impractical for most members.
As the number of Maryland Mensans continued to grow, it became harder and harder to print enough copies of M-Anation on MM’s hand-cranked mimeograph machine. Shortly after MM’s membership topped 200 in 1977, the then-Treasurer—Henry Noble—approached Pat Mager, the editor of MWM’s newsletter Capital M, to see if he could interest her in printing a combined newsletter. He could and did, and Pat began publishing a consolidated newsletter for both groups with the April 1977 issue. For the first time, this enabled Maryland and Washington Mensans to see the complete calendar of events for both groups and to attend any events hosted by either group. M-Anation had its own pages, and Map Pin—the Annapolis subgroup’s newsletter—also had a page.
Maryland Mensa’s first publicity coup occurred in April 1977 when the Baltimore Sun magazine published an article on the group titled “Being Eligible is All in the Mind”. Within the next two months, MM’s officers handled more than 200 membership inquiries. A year later, people were still joining because of the article. By the spring of 1978, MM had grown to 325 members and had become the third largest local group in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The group’s growth was accompanied by a large boost in attendance at monthly meetings.
In September 1984, Maryland Mensa began independent publication of its own newsletter again, initially titled just Maryland. By February 1987 the title had expanded to Maryland M, but then returned to just Maryland in 1989. In July 1990 the publication’s name was restored to M-Anation, which remains its title today. The same year, Maryland Mensa and Metropolitan Washington Mensa also began publishing a shared (consolidated) calendar listing the events of both local groups in their respective newsletters. The practice continues today.
Maryland Mensans have gathered at an extraordinary number of monthly meeting places over the years. In addition to the Westinghouse facility and the “large home in Baltimore County” of an unnamed early member, MM has met at 50 other locations:
- The Congress Hotel (1965, 1967, 1968)
- Belvedere Towers (1966 and 1967)
- Danny’s Restaurant (1966)
- Judy Radawich’s home (1966)
- Fred Davis’s home (1966)
- The Peter Lukas Restaurant (1967)
- Penny Brewster’s home (1967)
- Gordon Barland’s home (1967)
- The Tail of the Fox Restaurant (1967)
- The Penn Hotel (1967)
- Jack McNulty’s home (1967)
- The Downtowner Motel (1967–68)
- Ken Adelberg’s home (1969)
- Johns Hopkins University’s Levering Hall (1969)
- The Deutches Haus (1969–70; site of Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall today)
- The VIP Room Baltimore (1970–71)
- Bill MacNeil’s home (1971)
- The film studio of the Social Security Administration (1971 and 1976)
- The McKeldin area of Patapsco Valley State Park (1971, 1973, 1975, 1976, and 1977)
- Judy Kreiner’s home (1971 and 1972)
- The Briarwood Inn (1972)
- The headquarters building of the Social Security Administration (1972)
- The Maryland Academy of Sciences (1972)
- Town and Country Apartments (1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978)
- Alex Kaufman’s farm (1972)
- Calvert Cliffs State Park (1972)
- Larry and Kathy Bowen’s home (1975, 1978)
- The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni House (1976)
- Hertsch’s Tavern in Woodlawn (1977)
- The Versailles Apartments (1977)
- John Bell’s home (1977)
- The Mansion House (1979, 1980, 1981)
- The Padonia Park Club (1979, 1980)
- St. Joseph Hospital’s auditorium (1979, 1980)
- Suzanne Schuster’s home (1980)
- The Baltimore Hilton Hotel (1981)
- Locust Park Center (1981)
- Woodlawn Park (1981)
- The Maryland Science Center (1981–88)
- The Baltimore Science Fiction Society Building (1986)
- University of Baltimore (1986, 1988, 1989)
- Baltimore Holiday Inn (1987)
- University of Maryland Medical School (1988)
- Hyatt Regency Hotel (1985)
- Baltimore Episcopal Church (1988)
- Towson Presbyterian Church (1989)
- Towson Unitarian Church (1989–2000)
- Stillmeadow Evangelical Church in Catonsville (2000–2010)
- The Christian Temple in Catonsville (2011–2014)
- The River Hill Meeting Room in Columbia (2015–present)
Maryland Mensa’s Elected Officers from 1964 to Today
1964: Local Secretary (LocSec) Henry Cowan
1965–66: LocSec Marian Neufeld, 1st Vice President (Membership) Fred Davis, 2nd VP (Programs) Fred Houston, Treasurer (TR) Kenneth Adelberg, Editor (ED) and Recording Secretary (RS) Rosalie Maggitti
1966–67: LocSec Wayne Ebrite,1st VP Fred Davis, 2nd VP Sy Levin, TR Bill Blount, ED Juanita Millican, RS Judy Radawich
1967–68: LocSec Jack McNulty, 1st VP Richard Jones, 2nd VP Wayne Ebrite, TR Edwin Swoboda, ED Juanita Millican, RS Fred Davis
1968–69: LocSec Jack McNulty, 1st VP Fred Davis, 2nd VP Louis Ortega, TR Edwin Swoboda, ED and RS Fred MacFadden
1969–70: LocSec William MacNeil, 1st VP Fred Davis, 2nd VP Louis Ortega, TR Edwin Swoboda, ED and RS Joseph Rosenberg
1970–71: LocSec William MacNeil, 1st VP Fred Davis, 2nd VP Louis Ortega, TR Edwin Swoboda, ED and RS Joseph Rosenberg
1971–73: LocSec Judy Kreiner, 1st VP Fred Davis, 2nd VP Alex Kaufman, TR Edwin Swoboda, Editor Donald Laughery, RS Dick Weizenecker
1973–74: LocSec Lawrence Bowen, 1st VP Fred Davis, 2nd VP Ann Morgan, TR Edwin Swoboda, ED and RS Donald Laughery
1974–75: LocSec Lawrence Bowen, 1st VP Fred Davis, 2nd VP Ann Morgan, TR Edwin Swoboda, ED and RS Darlene Cohen
1975–76: LocSec Fred Davis, 1st VP Judith Arnold, 2nd VP Dennis Urner, TR Edwin Swoboda, ED and RS Darlene Cohen
1976–77: LocSec Fred Davis, 1st VP John Bell, 2nd VP Jay Stanley, TR Henry Noble, ED and RS Darlene Cohen
1977–78: LocSec Henry Noble, 1st VP John Bell, 2nd VP Jay Stanley, TR Chuck Bateman, ED and RS Darlene Cohen
1978–79: LocSec John Bell, 1st VP Bob Chesney, 2nd VP Suzanne Schuster-Young, TR Chuck Bateman, ED and RS Henry Noble
1979–80: LocSec Chuck Bateman, 1st VP Bob Chesney, 2nd VP Erik McKeever, TR Henry Noble, ED and RS Shirley Madsen
1980–81: LocSec Shirley Madsen, 1st VP Larry Betzler, 2nd VP Gerald Schonfeld, TR John Cuddy, ED and RS Suzanne Schuster-Young
1981–82: LocSec Larry Betzler, 1st VP Yvonne Atkinson, 2nd VP (vacant), TR John Cuddy, ED and RS Gus Berle
1982–83: LocSec Larry Betzler, 1st VP Anne Brooker, 2nd VP Charles Karow, TR Ed Grogan, ED and RS Cliff Johnson
1983–84: LocSec Larry Betzler, 1st VP Anne Brooker-Grogan, 2nd VP Kathy Thurlow, TR Ed Grogan, ED and RS Cliff Johnson
1984–85: LocSec David Kolodney, 1st VP Marian Neufeld, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Robert Deyo, ED and RS Cliff Johnson
1985–86: LocSec Jenny Foster, 1st VP Larry Betzler, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Robert Deyo, ED and RS Al Ackerson
1986–87: LocSec Jenny Foster, 1st VP Bill Todd, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Elizabeth Kristoffersen, ED and RS Royall Whitaker
1987–88: LocSec Bill Reeve, 1st VP Bill Todd, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Elizabeth Kristoffersen, ED and RS Royall Whitaker
1988–89: LocSec Bill Reeve, 1st VP Bill Todd, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Elizabeth Kristoffersen, ED and RS Sharon Hasty
1989–90: LocSec Jenny Foster, 1st VP Bill Todd, 2nd VP Bill Reeve, TR Tim Hardy, ED and RS Tabby Boehmer
1990–91: LocSec Tim Hardy, 1st VP Royall Whitaker, 2nd VP Bill Reeve, TR Charles Karow, ED and RS Carol Baldwin
1991–92: LocSec Tim Hardy, 1st VP Royall Whitaker, 2nd VP Sharon Hasty-Fountain, TR Charles Karow, ED and RS Carol Baldwin
1992–93: LocSec Tim Hardy, 1st VP Ed Fountain, 2nd VP Sharon Hasty-Fountain, TR Charles Karow, ED and RS Carol Baldwin
1993–94: LocSec Ed Fountain, 1st VP Sharon Hasty-Fountain, 2nd VP John Cuddy, TR Casey Hopson, ED and RS Carol Baldwin
1994–95: LocSec Sharon Hasty-Fountain, 1st VP John Cuddy, 2nd VP Ann Luoma, TR Casey Hopson, ED and RS Carol Baldwin
1995–96: LocSec John Cuddy, 1st VP Sandy Meyers, 2nd VP Debbie Williams, TR Michael Altus, ED and RS Carol Baldwin
1996–97: LocSec Megan McHugh, 1st VP Tom Shields, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Debbie Williams, ED and RS Carol Baldwin
1997–98: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Tom Shields, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Debbie Williams, ED and RS Carol Baldwin
1998–99: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Carol Baldwin, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Debbie Williams, ED and RS Terry MacKay
1999–2000: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Carol Baldwin, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Debbie Williams, ED and RS Robert Martinez
2000–01: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Carol Baldwin, 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Debbie Williams, ED Robert Martinez, RS Steve Collier
2001–02: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Carol Martinez (nee Baldwin), 2nd VP Lee Morrow, TR Debbie Williams, ED Steve Collier, RS Royall Whitaker
2002–03: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Casey Costley, TR Debbie Williams, ED Will Boggs, RS Royall Whitaker
2003–04: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Casey Costley, TR Debbie Williams, ED Steve Collier, RS Royall Whitaker
2004–05: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Casey Costley, TR Robin Campbell, ED Steve Collier, RS Royall Whitaker
2005–06: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Casey Costley, TR Robin Campbell, ED Steve Collier, RS Royall Whitaker
2006–07: LocSec Bill Baker, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Casey Costley, TR Robin Campbell, ED Sheila Wallace, RS Royall Whitaker
2007–08: LocSec Bill Baker, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Jean O’Donnell, TR Robin Campbell, ED Sheila Wallace, RS Royall Whitaker
2008–09: LocSec Bill Baker, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Jean O’Donnell, TR Robin Campbell, ED Sheila Wallace, RS Royall Whitaker
2009–10: LocSec Bill Baker, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Casey Costley, TR Robin Campbell, ED Sheila Wallace, RS Royall Whitaker
2010–12: LocSec Bill Baker, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Casey Costley, TR David Maness (resigned; replaced by David Hubbard), ED Sheila Wallace, RS Royall Whitaker, At-large Members (ALMs) Robin Campbell and Michelle Hirsh
2012–14: LocSec Bill Baker, 1st VP Carol Martinez, 2nd VP Bedford Bentley, TR David Hubbard, ED Sheila Wallace, RS Royall Whitaker, ALMs Robin Campbell (moved away; replaced by Michael Miller) and Michelle Hirsh
2014–16: LocSec Jean O’Donnell, 1st VP Sherry Miles, 2nd VP Bedford Bentley, TR David Hubbard, ED Sheila Wallace (withdrew; replaced first by Claire Natola and then by Bill Rados), RS Royall Whitaker, ALMs Michelle Hirsh and Michael Miller
2016–18: LocSec Todd Jacobs, 1st VP Sherry Miles, 2nd VP Bedford Bentley, TR David Hubbard, ED Bill Rados, RS Royall Whitaker, ALMs Michelle Hirsh and Michael Miller
2018–20: LocSec Dianne Khan, 1st VP Sherry Miles, 2nd VP Bedford Bentley, TR David Hubbard, ED Bill Rados, RS Royall Whitaker (died; replaced by Michelle Hirsh), ALMs Michelle Hirsh (resigned to become RS; replaced by Kerry Beth Johnson) and Jean O’Donnell
2020–22: LocSec Dianne Khan, 1st VP Sherry Miles, 2nd VP Bedford Bentley, TR David Hubbard, ED Bill Rados (resigned; replaced by Kelly Wagner), RS Michelle Hirsh, ALMs Jean O’Donnell and Kerry Beth Johnson (resigned; replaced by Dan Shawen)
The source material for this summary is drawn from
- the websites of Mensa International, American Mensa, and Maryland Mensa;
- the 1978 manuscript of “A History of Maryland Mensa” by Maryland Mensan Fred C. Davis, Jr., who died in 2016;
- back issues of M-Anation, Maryland Mensa’s monthly newsletter; and
- years of casual conversations between the editor of this compilation (Steve Collier) and other Mensans.
Please contact Steve at email@example.com if you have questions about Maryland Mensa in general or any part of this summary.