Take a virtual tour of Room 711

Room 711 on the 1st floor of Rotary headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA.

By Rotary Heritage Communications staff

Each year, thousands of visitors to Rotary headquarters experience Room 711, a recreation of the office where, on 23 February 1905, Paul Harris met with three acquaintances to start a club based on “mutual cooperation and informal friendship.” Continue reading

Our top stories of 2018

Rotary clubs of Guernsey and Guernesiais light the Government House purple for end polio.

Throughout the year, Rotary members have shared their inspiring stories here on our blog. As the year draws to a close, we wanted to take a moment to look back at some of the top posts of the year (based on views). Thank you for sharing, and keep telling Rotary’s story! Continue reading

How is your club celebrating Rotary’s anniversary?

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On 23 February, Rotary marks its 113th year. Above are images of clubs celebrating around the world. Send us a jpg attachments of your event, along with a brief description and photo credit information to blog@rotary.org to be considered for our gallery.

How is your club celebrating Rotary’s anniversary?

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Rotary clubs around the world will mark Rotary’s 112th anniversary by holding fundraisers, illuminating famous buildings, and hosting events of all sorts. We’ll add a sampling of photos from around the world to this gallery. Send us one from your club’s celebration. Please include a brief description.

Paul Harris on what Rotary will be in 100 years

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“May our happiness increase with our usefulness. What Rotary will be one hundred years hence, none living can imagine.”

Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.

Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.

By Rotary Heritage Communications staff

Rotary founder Paul Harris was a semi-regular contributor to The Rotarian magazine, and the February issue often included an anniversary message from him.

In 1915, he wrote, “We are passing our tenth milestone now. May our happiness increase with our usefulness. What Rotary will be one hundred years hence, none living can imagine. There is nothing impossible to Rotary now.”

Harris noted that Rotary had demonstrated its ability to “contribute toward the world’s supply of happiness” in terms of promoting ethical Continue reading

If Paul Harris started Rotary today

Evan Burrell and Room 711

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

How is your club celebrating Rotary’s anniversary?

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Rotary clubs worldwide marked the 111th anniversary of the first Rotary club meeting by holding an event, hosting a fundraiser, or lighting a notable building. Thanks to the more than 70 clubs that sent us photos of their events, some of which are shown above. We could not use them all, but clubs are also posting their photos on Facebook using #RI111.

A day at the orphanage

Members of the Rotary Club of Onigbongbo at the Red Cross Orphanage

Members of the Rotary Club of Onigbongbo at the Red Cross Orphanage. Photo courtesy of Yomi Lawson

Members of the Rotary Club of Onigbongbo, Lagos State, Nigeria, decided to celebrate 110 years of Rotary by donating supplies to a Red Cross orphanage that provides a home for 200 abandoned or vulnerable children. The club delivered 10 packs of diapers, 150 liters of diesel fuel, two cartons of infant formula, ten crates of eggs, two cartons of biscuits, five cartons of noodles, three cartons of fruit drink, and detergent. Members stayed to play with the children after dropping off the goods.

Paul Harris on the need for Rotary

Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.

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

Clubs celebrate Rotary’s anniversary, 30 years of PolioPlus

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This week marks 110 years since Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting. It also is 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.

Rotary clubs are celebrating the milestones in a variety of ways. The Rotary Club of Mt. Warning AM, New South Wales, Australia, gave away pancakes and handouts on the village’s main street. Continue reading