“We humans are creatures of habit, and it is just as easy to acquire the habit of speaking kindly as it is to acquire the habit of speaking unkindly”
— Paul Harris, 1935
When he spoke at the 1935 Rotary Convention in Mexico City, Paul Harris had only recently returned from a journey though Asia and the Pacific. He reflected on the opportunities for friendship he encountered on his trip and reminded members of their duty to act as ambassadors of goodwill. Read the full speech.
Editor’s note: 19 April marks the anniversary of Paul Harris’ birth. Learn more about Rotary’s founder.
Evan Burrell, left, with other members of the Joint Committee on Alumni Relations during a visit to Room 711, a recreation of the room where Rotary began.
By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia
I wonder, as we approach yet another Rotary anniversary, what Paul Harris would think of the Rotary of today? Would he smile, or grimace? He probably didn’t imagine how far his little idea would go when he sat down for that first meeting on 23 February a full 111 years ago.
As a fun exercise, I tried to imagine what it might be like if Paul Harris started Rotary today. To do this, I first imagined what a Gen Y Paul might be like. Continue reading
Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.
By Rotary Heritage Communications staff
In My Road to Rotary, Paul Harris recalled how his longing for friendship like that he had known in Vermont was one of his inspirations for founding Rotary in 1905. But in 1935, in This Rotarian Age, he wrote of the need for Rotary, from a wider perspective:
“It is conceivable that Rotary might have been born under sunnier skies, in a climate more equable, and in a city of mental composure; but many will contend that there could have been no more favorable birthplace for Rotary than paradoxical Chicago, where the battle for civic righteousness was being so fiercely waged.” Continue reading
By Yale Jones, Rotary Club of Taos-Milagro, New Mexico, USA
This year, I undertook the responsibility of Paul Harris Society coordinator for District 5520 in the charter year of this new giving program. As a leader for any new initiative like this, you never know what the response will be, but I saw it as an opportunity to share my passion for the work I am able to do through The Rotary Foundation with other Rotarians. Continue reading
By Dick Galitz, president of the 711 Club, at the rededication of Room 711 on the first floor of RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA
It’s very special to be standing in front of the rededicated Room 711 on this occasion. It is a special room. When you go into the room, you can just feel, I can feel, the atmosphere and sense of four guys getting together and saying “let’s build a fellowship.” Continue reading
By Bill Pollard, past governor of District 7600 (Virginia, USA), and member of the Rotary Club of Churchland, Virginia
One of my favorite things about the holiday season is watching It’s a Wonderful Life. The movie shares with us two important messages: the importance of friends and the positive impact each of us makes on the lives of others.
At the end of the movie George Bailey finds a copy of the book Tom Sawyer, a gift from his guardian angel Clarence who wrote in the book, “Remember,George: no man is a failure who has friends.” Our membership in Rotary provides us with the opportunity to make special and lasting friendships with Rotarians in our clubs, districts, and throughout the world. Continue reading
“It is well that there is nothing in Rotary so sacred that it cannot be set aside in favor of things better.”
Paul Harris plants a tree in Santiago, Chile.
On this trip, Harris also planted trees in Callao and Lima, Peru; Bogotá, Colombia; Valparaiso, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil
In 1936, Paul Harris and his wife, Jean, traveled throughout Central and South America. Upon their return to Chicago, Paul shared his experiences in Peregrinations III.
Reflecting on a tree planting in Chile — one of many during the trip, he noted that he thought of tree plantings as a symbol of good will, and hoped that the trees he had planted at home and abroad would stand for generations. Continue reading
“If you have the love of your fellow men in your hearts, my friends, you are a potential Rotarian.”
On 27 June, Rotary founder Paul Harris gave a live radio broadcast from the 1933 convention in Boston. Near the end of his talk, Harris noted that Rotary is a way of life and the world is full of potential Rotarians.
Celebrate Harris’s birthday on 19 April by listening to his message. How will you share his vision with prospective members you know? Leave a comment below.