100 Years of Service Above Self... a Work in Progress
by Dennis Baldwin
As the Rotary Club of Syracuse—one of the oldest Rotary Clubs in the world--approaches its centennial members can look back with pride to a long record of service, charity and fellowship. Starting with a membership of 22 in 1912, and peaking in the early 1960s with 485 members, the Club nonetheless remains vital and active and looks forward with enthusiasm and confidence to its next 100 years.
This brief history of some of Syracuse Rotary’s historical highlights has been prepared to contribute to the celebration of our Club’s 100th anniversary. Hopefully, it will provide happy memories for many, robust inspiration for others and a challenge for all to add to this presentation which reflects what our predecessors at the Club’s diamond anniversary in 1987 called a “Gem of a Past.”
We have every right to be very proud of living up to Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self as we continue to pursue one of Syracuse Rotary’s original community projects, that of helping handicapped children, while reaching out for additional avenues to improve the quality of life in our community.
The history of Syracuse Rotary is pretty well documented, thanks to the foresight of our founding fathers and succeeding secretaries and other dedicated Rotarians. A good many of the minutes of the Boards of Directors, weekly newsletters, luncheon minutes, rosters, photographs and other important documents are indexed and on file with the Onondaga Historical Society. Others, particularly in the past several years with regard to the Rotary Press, are available digitally. This presentation has been compiled with the aid of some of that material and has been inspired and informed by a presentation prepared by Past Presidents Stew Thompson, Norm Simpson and Dave Osborn for our Club’s 75th anniversary celebration. It also relies on substantial contributions from Past Presidents Dan Morrow and Jack Luchsinger and Dan’s son, Syracuse Rotarian, Jim Morrow.
So let’s begin
The Rotary idea had only been born in 1905 in Chicago--the brain child of a young lawyer, Paul P. Harris--a mere seven years before L. George Robbins and 22 Syracuse business and professional men gathered at the old Yates Hotel on April 12, 1912 for an initial organizational meeting. A few weeks later, on April 26, 1912, the first officers were elected, a constitution and set of by laws were adopted and an application for a charter was drawn up and submitted to the National Association of Rotary Clubs, as it was known in those day, indicating an active membership of 67 men. George Robbins was the first president and Charles Howe, founder of Howe Jewelers, was the first secretary. The initial annual dues were $3.
The Club’s charter application was approved on June 1, 1912 which recognized Syracuse Rotary as the 42nd club in the Rotary world, among the earliest. That day charters were also granted to Rotary Clubs in Pueblo CO (#43) and Toledo OH (#44). At the same time Paul Harris was just completing his third and final year as the initial president of the National Association of Rotary Clubs which later that year became the International Association of Rotary Clubs, later shortened to Rotary International in 1922.
Syracuse was a burgeoning community in 1912, with scores of small manufacturing firms and representatives of national companies eager to put their best foot forward in the business world. There was a distinct entrepreneurial flavor to Rotary in the early days, but serving society by improving the community came quickly into the picture. By June, 1913, when the Club was officially affiliated with RI, membership had grown to an astonishing 254 men.
The first secretary, Charles Howe, resigned in early 1913, and on February 24 of that year Frank W. Weedon, a well known local singer, entertainer and community leader, was elected Club secretary and continued to serve in that capacity until his death in August,1950. Frank Weedon was a dedicated and tireless booster for the Rotary movement and constantly remarked in his weekly letter which he sent to all members: “Everything in Rotary depends upon attendance and mixing.” Now that’s a 100 year old idea that still holds true!
There was little mercy shown to non-attenders in those early days. Missing four meetings in a row brought automatic loss of membership. Secretary Weedon in his weekly letter for Friday, November 17, 1913 wrote: “A wheel made of dead wood will never last long. The Board of Directors found a few dead spokes in our Rotary Wheel (eight ex-members were listed) and have ordered me to cut them out. Here they are, scratch them from your roster, they are no longer Rotarians.” The following Friday 14 new Rotarians were inducted into the Club.
In those early years Syracuse Rotary met on Fridays at 12:15 PM normally in the Rathskeller or Roof Garden of the Onondaga Hotel, except for its once a month dinner meetings. The meal cost was 70 cents. Occasionally they met at the Yates Hotel, especially during the warm weather when the Rathskeller could get hot, but the Onondaga Hotel remained the Club’s home for many years.
There was always much fellowship in evidence at meetings. Members were encouraged to sit at different tables by having seats assigned to them as they entered the Rathskeller or the Roof Garden, somewhat akin to the origin of the name Rotary which developed from the practice in the very early years of rotating their meetings from business to business.
In 1913 business men were falling over themselves to join Rotary, as the organization gained in stature as the premier service club in the city. That summer about 200 members of the Club attended what was to become an annual outing including a ball game and clam bake.
Community service by Syracuse Rotarians came to be one of the first activities undertaken. The first Christmas Fund for charitable purposes was taken up in December, 1913, when in conjunction with the Syracuse Herald, the Club hosted a Christmas party for all the handicapped children in Syracuse. Inspired by Rotarian Dr. Frederick W. Betts, the Club established the Rotary Cripples Fund and between 1913-1917 raised over $8,000 for various appliances, equipment and services for the benefit of handicapped children.
In the spring of 1914 Syracuse Rotarians purchased land on Warren Street in Fayetteville and with their own labor built Camp Hillcrest to house and school fifty handicapped children. This structure was then turned over to the New York State Crippled Children’s Association, free and clear. Later, through the Association’s efforts, along with those of Syracuse Rotary and Mr. Percy Hughes, the City of Syracuse was sold on the necessity of establishing a school that could be used for handicapped children. As a result the first such school of its kind in the country, the Percy Hughes School, was established in 1930 and remained in operation for many years until the concept of mainstreaming special needs children took hold. From this small start, the Rotary movement on behalf of the handicapped child began to take shape and thereafter developed rapidly until it now covers every part of the Rotary world.
So it’s not without good reason that Syracuse Rotary has been recognized by Rotary International as the first club in the Rotary world to take on the great humanitarian work of community service for handicapped children. In part, this recognition is owing to the efforts of Frank Weedon whose commitment to the handicapped extended well beyond Syracuse. In 1921 Frank joined with fellow Rotarians Paul Harris, Edgar “Daddy” Allen of Toledo Rotary and others to form the International Society for Crippled Children which later became Easter Seals.
By April, 1914, Syracuse Rotary had increased to 314 members while annual dues had almost doubled to $5. Also in 1914 295 members of the Club contributed $1 each to the International Association of Rotary Clubs to assist in wiping out a deficit. That same year the Club designed, printed and distributed the September 1914 issue of RI’s premier magazine, The Rotarian, since during those early years each club took its turn in producing the magazine. The Club is fortunate to have a copy of that early issue in its archives.
On February 11, 1915 the Club held its first ever Ladies Night at a regular meeting where members were encouraged to bring their spouses. Frank Weedon’s “Quartette” sang along with Madam MacFarlane, a noted entertainer from Detroit. A week later a delegation from the Club took the train to Philadelphia to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the birth of Rotary.
Later in 1915 the Club moved its offices from the Grand Opera House where Secretary Weedon had his office and rented office space in the Onondaga Hotel, spending $150 for furnishings. The annual outing had become a regular affair by this time and was held in June that year at Suburban Park near Edwards Falls in Manlius where it was reported that a good time was had by all.
On May 6, 1915, the Club was officially incorporated as the Rotary Club of Syracuse, Inc. under the New York Membership Corporation Law. That year a delegation from the Club, including president, Samuel H. Cook, attended the Rotary International Convention in San Francisco.
Famous evangelist, Billy Sunday, created quite a stir when he and his entourage attended the Club luncheon meeting on November 12, 1915 to promote his revival activity in Syracuse. Frank Weedon’s weekly newsletter exhorted Syracuse Rotarians, “Be in the ballroom at 12:15, and don’t smoke until Billy has gone.”
In June, 1916, in support of the the war effort, Syracuse Rotary paid the premiums for one year on policies of insurance for $500 on the lives of all 84 men in Battery A of the local National Guard at a total cost of $711.22.
The Club established a “Moral Survey” Committee in 1918 which was in operation for several years in cooperation with a government campaign concerning venereal disease. There was also a Public Affairs Committee which considered various matters pertaining to community welfare.
On December 19, 1918, Syracuse Rotary initiated its annual Christmas Party for handicapped children. A long standing tradition, following a respite in the 30s-40s, this event continues today, in cooperation with the Syracuse School District, as an exciting and valued opportunity to provide lunch with Santa (who looks amazingly like Rotarian Charlie Manro) and gifts and entertainment for children with special needs—indeed, a dedicated effort by Syracuse Rotarians to try to see to it that the dreams of those children are fulfilled.
Club service was dramatically demonstrated in 1919 when past president, George Kirtland, needed his stationery store moved from one side of the 300 block of South Salina Street to the other. Secretary Weedon wrote in his weekly letter: “Since we Rotarians have long since learned that ‘He Profits Most Who Serves Best’ we start on Friday by doing something for somebody and having some fun while doing it. George Kirtland is moving his store and needs help. At 12 o’clock sharp we meet at his old store, grab a basket of goods, get out on the street, fall in line behind a good band, march around a couple of blocks carrying signs to indicate to a gaping populace what we are up to, leave our baskets at the new store, then back to our starting point. Moving pictures will be taken and shown all over; the papers will give us some real publicity. Good stunt, isn’t it? Fine ad for George, fine ad for the club’s motto of ‘Service’.” 215 Rotarians showed up to help.
Also in 1919 some 30 members of the Club volunteered to serve on a Safe Driving Committee, and 163 members pledged $1700 to the Fresh Air Fund of the Syracuse Herald.
In the early years the growth of Rotary was so rapid that Districts were established with Governors. Initially, in 1915 Syracuse Rotary was assigned to District 2. W. J. O’Hea of Rochester Rotary was the first governor in 1915-16. Syracuse Rotary president and initial vice president, Thomas K. Smith, became the second district governor in 1916-17. Due to continued growth our area was divided a number of times more until 1954 when we were assigned to District 715 which became District 7150 in 1991, the District within which our Club currently resides. Notably, over the years Syracuse Rotary would come to furnish at least 8 district governors, among the most of any club within our district.
Continuing our tradition of assisting handicapped children, in October, 1920, Syracuse Rotarians donated $3500 plus material and labor for a new pavilion at Camp Hillcrest. But our efforts were not limited to the handicapped.
On February 15, 1921, for example, Secretary Weedon reported in his weekly letter that a number of Syracuse Rotarians traveled to Auburn, NY, to present a moving picture machine to the Warden of Auburn Prison for the Women’s Department. That same year past president and district governor, Thomas Smith, was elected to the New York State Legislature by the biggest majority ever given a candidate in Onondaga County. It was reported that he then went out in the woods and brought down a ten point buck with a single shot. Exactly what Rotary avenue of service that represented is uncertain, but, like Rotary, it was impressive.
Over the years Syracuse Rotary has unselfishly sponsored a number of area Rotary Clubs. These include Fulton (November 1, 1919), Oneida (April 1, 1920), North Syracuse (February 18, 1949), Cazenovia (May 19, 1949), DeWitt (May 21, 1954), Marcellus (May 26 1958), Eastwood (June 30, 1961), Solvay-Geddes (May 22, 1967) and Tully (1990). In addition, though there was no provision in effect at the time for a sponsoring club, it is generally acknowledged that Syracuse Rotary also “sponsored” the Auburn Club (1915).
In March, 1924, the Club was treated to the presence of the well recognized music hall comedian, Scottish Rotarian singer and friend of Frank Weedon, Sir Harry Lauder, who was known as Rotary’s Traveling Troubadour. When in Syracuse Sir Harry was hosted at a luncheon in his honor by five Syracuse area Rotary clubs and later in the day made a unique recording of his famous ballad “In the Rotary.” How do we know that? Years later PP Dave Osborn wrote that “as a Past President and Syracuse Rotarian for 41 years, I followed in the footsteps of my father, a charter member of the Syracuse Club.... When Sir Harry visited Syracuse and presented his customary entertaining program, my Dad encouraged fellow Rotarian, Melville Clark—owner of Syracuse music stores and inventor of the famous Clark Irish Harp—to record Sir Harry’s famous ballad “In the Rotary.” Dave then went on to say that he had a copy of that original recording and while somewhat scratchy by today’s standards, the message still comes out loud and strong. Another copy of the recording is on file with RI in Evanston.
Syracuse Rotarians were probably not involved in the filling of the old Erie Canal in the 1930s, but the Club did fill another community need by beginning to help the Salvation Army’s summer camping program. Rotarians were responsible for building a cabin at the Salvation Army’s Jefferson Park on Lake Ontario. Barney Shattuck, one of our charter members, was the driving force in the 1930s followed by George Goldstein in the 1950s who urged his fellow Rotarians to build a better unit, as well as to arrange watermelon parties for the youngsters. Membership in Syracuse Rotary stood at 397 in April, 1930. A year later the Club posed proudly for a group photo on the Court House steps.
The very popular Syracuse Rotary Intra-Club Bowling League also started in the mid-30s and over the years has provided good fun and fellowship for a legion of Rotarians. Although it may be apocryphal, it has been reported that PP Howard Nicholson, in 1991 at age 91, bowled an astounding 222 during Rotary team play. True or not, it certainly reflects the energy and enthusiasm which Syracuse Rotarians demonstrate, whether at play or in service.
Later, in 1941, under the presidency of Dr. John Buettner, Syracuse Rotary began hosting the annual New York State Bowling Tournament which in March,1963, was recognized as the world’s largest Rotary inter-club activity to that time, with 1100 Rotarians on 228 teams from 174 Rotary Clubs! Syracuse Rotary continued to host that tournament for many more years. President Buettner also introduced the singing of the birthday song during the Club’s Friday luncheons.
Helen Bland began her 47 year career with Syracuse Rotary as Assistant Secretary to Secretary Frank Weedon in September, 1935 and then succeeded him in the newly created position of Executive Secretary when he passed away in 1950. Helen’s beginning annual salary was $3600. Helen was as devoted to Rotary as any Rotarian and proudly served in that capacity until her retirement in 1981. As evidence of the Club’s affection and appreciation, Helen was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1974. Over the years Helen was ably served by a number of assistants including Fran Winkleman, Mary Drake and Sue Graverson.
In the 1940s, responding to civil defense needs following World War II, the Club met the challenge with a fully equipped emergency kitchen on wheels which was still operating well into the 1950s. By April, 1945, Club membership had grown to 446.
On April 3, 1951 (Howard Nicholson was President at the time) Syracuse Rotary published the first issue of our weekly bulletin, The Rotary Press, which succeeded Frank Weedon’s weekly letter which he continued to write until shortly before his passing. Howard Palmer was the first editor, with many devoted Rotarians to follow including Norm Simpson, Stew Thompson and Phil Robinson, in valuable collaboration over the years with Rotarian Ed Corcoran, Peerless Press, Rotarian Dave Osborn’s Lettergraphics and more recently, Morrow Graphics, Inc. It’s still being published today in a weekly edition, albeit in digital format, under the able direction of Gary Wilson.
On October 17, 1952, Alex Charters, our current oldest living member, joined Syracuse Rotary and as an early Paul Harris Fellow has served the Club with distinction ever since.
In the late 1940s, with the assistance of the Women of Rotary (a group formed in 1922 and comprised generally of spouses of Rotarians), the Club initiated its support of the Syracuse Girls Club. In 1954 this blossomed into a grant from the Club of $3,750 to purchase some property at 206 Oswego Street in Syracuse for the exclusive use of the Girls Club, their first real home. During the 1950s the Club also provided support for the summer camping program of the Syracuse Boys Club, sponsored a pee wee hockey club, underwrote a robust student loan fund, entertained countless foreign students and under the auspices of Rotarian Del Northrop, then Principal of Percy Hughes School, inaugurated our long standing annual tradition of recognizing outstanding local high school students, an important tradition which still thrives today under the leadership of Rotarian Pat Spadafora.
The City of Syracuse celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1956, and Rotarian J. Clancy Hopkins led the way for Syracuse Rotary to join yet another parade. With the help of more than a dozen Syracuse Rotarians, a beautiful prize winning float was constructed and rolled down Salina Street. At Old News Boys time it was Clancy and Rotarian Ernie Cummings who always marshaled enough troops regardless of weather.
Syracuse Rotary membership in the 1950s hovered in the mid 400s while luncheon prices at the Onondaga Hotel escalated to $1.85. Annual Club dues were $50 in 1954. It was also during the 1950s that the Club began a long tradition of recognizing community service leaders at an annual spring luncheon.
In 1958, after considerable searching, Syracuse Rotary, through the newly created Syracuse Rotary Foundation, purchased a large farm of 69 acres along Chittenango Creek in Madison County then called Rippling Rhythm Farms. Rotary Park, the new home of Camp Goodwill was born that Fall. Immediately, under the supervision of the Syracuse Rotary Foundation, a five year plan was designed and put into operation, under the inspired leadership of J. Clancy Hopkins who coined the motto once posted above the camp assembly hall door: “In Doing Good, Let Us Not Grow Tired.”
Camp Goodwill was originally associated with Percy Hughes School which Syracuse Rotary had supported since the late 1940s. But from the beginning it was Del Northrop’s dream to have an outdoor camp for handicapped children, away from the school, to provide summer camping experiences along with therapy. After testing a site in Jamesville in 1957 which proved inadequate, Rotary Park was the answer to Del’s dreams as well as thousands of area handicapped children.
By 1961, the third year of operation, 130 children were participating in a six-week summer program at Camp Goodwill. In 1963 Syracuse Rotary-inspired Camp Goodwill, Inc. was formed to take over operation of the summer camp, with Rotarian D. Raymond Park as its first president. It leased Rotary Park and the camp facilities from the Syracuse Rotary Foundation for $1 a year.
In time, with an expenditure of well over $100,000, under the auspices of Camp Goodwill, Inc. and Syracuse Rotary (with assistance from many including the Gifford Foundation and the DeWitt Rotary Club), the Camp was expanded to include many improvements including overnight facilities, a dining hall, a heated pool, handicraft areas, athletic facilities, a playground area, speech therapy facilities and a miniature 9 hole golf course, making it one of the finest camps of its kind in the country. Among the very early Rotarian supporters, in addition to Clancy Hopkins, Del Northrop, Roy Scroxton, Al Morse, Fred Bailer and Bob Tiffany were Fred Marty, Jr. and Dudley K. Post who often appeared at Camp with the trunks of their respective Cadillacs filled with tools and equipment, ready to go to work. D. K. Post later took over the leadership of Camp Goodwill and remained in that position until his retirement and move to California in the late 1970s. For a time Rotary Park also hosted Camp Red Wing, a summer camp operated by the Syracuse Girls Club.
As time went on it became obvious that the program at Camp Goodwill had grown to the point where it was no longer feasible for Syracuse Rotary to continue to operate it, so in 1980 the New York State Easter Seal Society leased, and a year later took title to, Rotary Park and full responsibility for the operation of Camp Goodwill, with Syracuse Rotary’s continued assistance. In 1983, then RI President, William Skelton, joined District 715 Governor and New York State Easter Seals President, Rotarian Jack Luchsinger, for a tour of Camp Goodwill at which time President Skelton recognized Camp Goodwill as “representative of the best in community and humanitarian service by Rotary Clubs around the world.”
In 1994 Easter Seals, in a consolidation and realignment of its program, determined that it also could no longer continue to operate the camp which, by prior agreement, then reverted in 1995 to the Syracuse Rotary Foundation which in turn sold the land and facilities to an interested not for profit entity named High Esteem which continued to operate a summer camp for handicapped children until only recently under the name of Camp Goodwill in accordance with a license from Syracuse Rotary.
Syracuse Rotarians have been involved in many other humanitarian efforts as well. For example, long time Syracuse Rotarian, Dr. Robert Laubach, son of the founder of Laubach Literacy International, helped to inspire Syracuse Rotary to address the problems of illiteracy right here in Central New York beginning in the mid-1980s. The Club continues its involvement today under the leadership of Syracuse Rotarian, Dan Morrow, who as Chairman of the Literacy Committee has kept adult illiteracy a focus of the club. From Corporate Spelling Bees to Adult Literacy Camps to our current “Literacy 100” initiative the Community Assisted Adult Reader (CAAR) program. In the last five years under this program the club has paid the cost to educate 48 adult new readers for one year each and provided Rotarian liaisons for each adult who shares the progress of the new reader with the club. At the upcoming 100th Anniversary Gala ,Syracuse Rotary will be presenting a gift of $20,000 to Syracuse based ProLiteracy to enable it to deliver digital literacy messages to the community via digital displays located in the public courtyard of ProLiteracy’s new state of the art headquarters on the Near West Side of Syracuse.
Meanwhile, back in May, 1961, the Club had moved its office and regular meeting place to the Hotel Syracuse where it met for over 25 years, normally in the Persian Terrace, on Fridays at 12:15, until October,1988, when the Hotel became unavailable and the Club relocated to Drumlins where it remains today.
Membership in the Club peaked in 1962 at 485 during the term of president, Forrest Witmeyer. Also in the 1960s for those of us old enough to remember, who could forget Club outings at Rotary Park with Dick Knodel’s sizzling steaks, Rotarians clowning around before supper in our assembly hall at Camp Goodwill and enjoying some after supper sarsaparilla.
In the spring of 1972, on the heels of the devastating Hurricane Agnes, the Club was the first organization to contribute the the Elmira-Corning flood relief effort.
In April, 1978, the Club hosted a very successful 20th Annual Conference of Rotary Presidents-Elect and Executive Secretaries. Among the conference participants were 16 Presidents-Elect from many of the large (300 plus) Rotary Clubs east of the Mississippi including Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, Milwaukee and Detroit. The Club also underwrote a special Syracuse Symphony concert where various local leaders took turns waiving the baton.
Chester S. Gates became Syracuse Rotary’s first black president in 1978-79. To commemorate this notable occasion, the luncheon program for June 16, 1978 featured a video prepared by WSYR-TV entitled: A Day in the Life of Chester Gates. A few of us still remember Chet as a gracious, affable, caring soul who loved Rotary--perhaps even more than his treasured toy trains.
In 1980, under the reign of the inimitable, PP Bob Foster, the 50-50 Fund was formally renamed Inter-Com Fund to denote its use for international and community projects. In 1982-83 Syracuse Rotary President, Jim Nash, demonstrating Rotary’s international avenue of service, visited Russia, by invitation of the Russian government, to show communists how to become capitalists using Junior Achievement textbooks and other materials.
On January 25, 1985 long time Syracuse Rotarian and original Camp Goodwill supporter, Roy Scroxton died. Two years earlier, at the age of 96, Roy was recognized by RI as the oldest living Rotarian, having joined Syracuse Rotary in 1913, one year after its founding. At a special recognition ceremony that year at a Syracuse Rotary luncheon meeting, Roy was remembered for responding, “Thank you. I am glad to be here—in fact, I’m glad to be anywhere today.”
Also in 1985, in the tradition of their long time support for Camp Goodwill, a host of Syracuse Rotarians participated in the local Easter Seal Telethon where the Club presented its annual check for summer camperships. That year the Club also began its sponsorship of what was to become a very successful annual job fair for older workers.
The price of the Friday luncheon at Hotel Syracuse in August, 1986, was $6.25. Annual dues increased that year from $170 to $200, the first increase in about 10 years.
The Club celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1987 by presenting a special gift of chimes to the City of Syracuse for the City Hall Tower where they still ring today, thanks to an updated system gifted to the City by the Club in 2010. To commemorate our diamond anniversary, the Club featured two months of special Friday noon programs, presented 15 new Paul Harris Fellowships and held a gala ball in the beautiful Grand Ballroom of Hotel Syracuse on April 11, 1987 where it was reported that dancing went on well into the wee hours of the evening.
Following the 1987 US Supreme Court ruling allowing women to join Rotary, on December 12, 1987, Gillian M. McAuliffe, then Vice President for Consumer Affairs for Fay Drug Company, was welcomed as the first female member of Syracuse Rotary with a classification of Chain Drug-Retailing. Women have since played a major role in the success of Syracuse Rotary, with Maureen Ozols ascending to the presidency in 1996-97 as our first female chief executive.
Club membership dipped below 200 in April,1993, for the first time since its founding due to a “perfect storm” involving many factors including the delayed impact of our having sponsored so many area clubs, a change in volunteering habits, the mobility of society, ever increasing work loads, reluctance of employers to allocate time and funds for service club membership, etc., etc. Notwithstanding that, under president Jim Nash and every president since then, the Club has resolved to redouble efforts to increase membership and maintain our longstanding tradition of service and charity to the community. And we have continued to do that, in so many ways, big and small.
In the context of Rotary’s four avenues of service, over the years, following in the traditions of Rotarians George Goldstein and Ray Castle, our Club has earned its place as a leader in the field of international service in such activities as sponsoring Rotary International Foundation scholars for study in other lands, supporting New Citizen Luncheons, arranging high school student exchanges, sponsoring group exchange programs, hosting hundreds of foreign students—many of them at SU-- and otherwise supporting and working with a number of international organizations devoted to international peace and good will.
With respect to the avenue of community service, in addition to what has already been mentioned, Syracuse Rotary has been a major supporter of RI’s humanitarian work such as Polio Plus and the Health, Hunger and Humanity programs. And more than 75% of the Club’s members are Paul Harris Fellows.
Furthermore, as PP and PDG Jack Luchsinger notes in his article for an upcoming issue of The Rotarian, Syracuse Rotarian, Dr. Alfred Falcone, with the Club’s assistance, has given of his time and talent to travel to South America as part of a surgical team to address the needs of those who otherwise would be unable to receive necessary medical treatment. Jack also points out that the Club has worked with the 403rd Civil Affairs Unit on the Children of Afghanistan Education Project providing books, paper, pens, pencils and other supplies to help support the educational needs of this under served population.
In addition, Syracuse Rotary donated its first planetarium to the Discovery Center (now MOST) and then updated it after the first one became obsolete. Our Club has also provided joy to thousands of visitors to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park with the delightful exhibit of otters. Over the years we have rung many bells for the Salvation Army and made significant contributions to the Onondaga Historical Association, Easter Seals, InterFaith Works of Central New York and dozens of other agencies, organizations and individuals here in the Greater Syracuse area which are working, like Rotary, to build a better community.
In the field of vocational service, Syracuse Rotary continues to foster and live the Four-Way test which promotes high ethical and moral standards.
And in club service we continue to explore ways to expand Rotary membership, monitor proper attendance, assign suitable classifications, publish our weekly bulletin, create and follow sound budgets and promote fellowship (or what used to be called “grievance parties”) among Club members in a host of ways including many very enjoyable symphony soirees, golf outings, dinner cruises, big band concerts and the like organized by PP Brad Strait.
On this our 100th anniversary, the Rotary of Club of Syracuse can indeed point with pride to its rich heritage and look forward with enthusiasm and confidence to a promising future.
So there you have it—a brief glimpse of Syracuse Rotary’s first 100 years, only awaiting to be more fully reported by those of you who continue to live it. Looking back on our “Gem of a Past”, as was observed at our diamond anniversary “...let us be thankful for the guiding hand that transformed the gifts of a few into gifts for the many. Looking ahead to future shining anniversaries, let it be remembered that “in doing good, we did not grow tired.”
Compiled by Past President Denny Baldwin, with the substantial inspiration and assistance, in particular, of Past Presidents Stew Thompson, Norm Simpson, Dave Osborn, Dan Morrow and Jack Luchsinger, Jim Morrow and, in general, the thousands of Syracuse Rotarians, past and present, who have in one way or another contributed to this impressive story.
PRESIDENT: KEVIN VISCONTI | VICE PRESIDENT: CHARLES BEACH | SECRETARY: JOHN BERTRAM | TREASURER: DANIEL MORROW
© 2018 THE ROTARY CLUB OF SYRACUSE. INC. | WWW.SYRACUSEROTARY.ORG | INFO@SYRACUSEROTARY.ORG
PRESIDENT: KEVIN VISCONTI | VICE PRESIDENT: CHARLES BEACH | SECRETARY: JOHN BERTRAM | TREASURER: DANIEL MORROW
© 2018 THE ROTARY CLUB OF SYRACUSE. INC. | WWW.SYRACUSEROTARY.ORG | INFO@SYRACUSEROTARY.ORG