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Paul Harris

Rotary International


Rotary was founded in Chicago, Illinois on February 23, 1905 by Paul P. Harris, a lawyer. On that day Paul met with three friends - Sylvester Schiele, a coal dealer; Gustavus E. Loehr, a mining engineer; and Hiram E. Shorey, a merchant tailor.

Initially, Paul Harris's idea was to promote fellowship among business acquaintances, but soon the purpose had evolved into a higher calling, that of service to others. This club met in rotation at the offices of the members, therefore the name ROTARY was adopted. The membership of that first club was diverse which continues to be one of our dominant themes.

Although early meetings focused on fostering fellowship, before long the founders discovered a more profound purpose for their club. Within a year, the club began to formulate the basic tenets and principles, which later evolved into the Object of Rotary, encouraging and fostering the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise. Service, whether shared in our own communities or in the larger world community, is the very core of Rotary.

In 1911 Rotary became international establishing clubs in Canada, England and Ireland. Rotary became the forerunner of other great service clubs such as Kiwanis International founded in 1915, Lions International founded in 1917 and Optimist International founded in 1919. The first Rotary international convention was held in Atlanta in 1917. There are now over 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas, with more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders as members.

More about Rotary International.

Discussion With Past RI President Cliff Dochterman

This is an interesting Q&A session with questions such as "If you could be president of Rotary International again, what would you differently", "[what about] the Gates Foundation to the eradication of polio" and more.
First page of Q&A         Q&A Conclusion

See what it's about - live!

Rotary International on YouTube

Below is the video from above "embedded". Is it a good idea to have such videos directly embedded in the various pages of our website? An alternative is to have links to a few selected videos - you would have to click a link to see the video, probably best in a separate window. Another alternative is to have just the one link at the top of this page, which takes you to the RI YouTube site, from where you make your own selection. Your webmaster would like to know how you feel about this!