Rotary began as an idea over 100 years ago. Today, Rotary flourishes with over 1.2 million members within over 32,000 clubs located in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Considered the world’s first service club, Rotary was first formed by Paul P. Harris in Chicago to try to capture in a professional group the same friendly spirit he felt in the small towns of his youth. The Rotary name was derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members’ offices.
Initially established to service members’ professional and social interests, the service aspect became stronger over time as members realized the beneficial impact they could achieve by pooling resources. Rotary’s dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its motto: Service Above Self.
In 1943, Rotary adopted The Four-Way Test, which had been created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932. The Four-Way Test is essentially a code of ethics and asks the following four questions:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
For more information on Rotary and its history, see the Rotary International Website @ www.rotary.org.