Famous Honorary Rotarians

Famous Honorary Rotarians

Many of the illustrious figures in world affairs have been and are Rotarians. 
Royalty and elected political officials have been drawn to Rotary's ideal of "Service Above Self."
Walt Disney, who brought some of the Harris tales to the movie screen, was an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Palm Springs, California, U.S.A.
Another daring adventurer, Thor Heyerdahl, is an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Larvik, Norway.
Marshall Carl-Gustaf Mannerheim who was a honorary member of The Rotary Club of Helsinki from 1934 until his death in 1951.
H.M. Vittorio Emanuele III, King of Italy, honorary member of Rotary Club of Rome
The Presidents of the United States that were Honorary Rotarians are: Woodrow Wilson (RC of Birmingham, AL) (TR April 1915 p.76), Calvin Coolidge, (Obituary)
Portrait of Woodrow Wilson
Other honorary U.S., Presidents were Herbert Hoover
Portrait of Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt 
(honorary member of the 
RC of Albany
Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Portrait of Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower (honorary member of the RC of Abilene, Kansas (1942), Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (1952), and Newport, Rhode Island, (1957)
John F. Kennedy 
have been honorary Rotarians
Portrait of John Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Whittier, CA since 1948
Portrait of Richard M. Nixon
Ronald W. Reagan Pacific Palisades, CA
Portrait of Ronald Reagan
George W. Bush
RC of Washington DC (made an honorary member by RI Past President Frank Devlyn at a ceremony on 2 July, 2001 at the White House)
Official portrait of President George W. Bush.
Gamal Abdel Nasser 
was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. An honorary member of 
RC of Cairo (video of the presentation)

Head and shoulders of a man in his forties smiling. He has dark hair that is pulled back, a long forehead, thick eyebrows and a mustache.  He is wearing a gray jacket and a white shirt with a tie.
HRH the Prince of Wales, honorary member Windsor, Ontario, Canada, from The Rotarian May 1921
Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor - Honorary member of two Canadian Rotary clubs. TR March 1936 p. 27

H.R.H. the Duke of Aosta was honorary member of RC Naples, Italy, District 2100.
(provided by Pietro Brunoldi)

Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister, Birmingham, UK

 Another honorary member was  Associate Justice William O. Douglas.

Sir Winston Churchill was an honorary member of the Rotary Club of London, England. 
H.R.H. Duke of Aosta Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
Albert I King of Belgium The honorary president of the Rotary Cub of Monaco, Monaco, is Prince Rainier III.  King Baudouin I of Belgium, is an honorary member of the Rotary Cub of Brussels.  King Hassan II of Morocco,
hassan picture
Zardari - RC of Karachi Bay RGHF members RIVP 97/98 Bob Scott and DG 09/10 Usman Masud present an honorary Rotary membership to Pakistan's President, Asif Ali Zardari I. K. Gujaral, Prime Minister H. R. H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh - honorary member of the Rotary Club of Windsor and Eton, England - TR June 1970 p. 28 an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Edinburgh. Charles H.R.H the Prince of Wales, Honorary Member, Rotary Club of Banchory-Ternan, D1010 UK (webmaster Rtn. Chris Engle)
Princephil2.jpg HRH The Prince of Wales
King Carl VI Gustav of Sweden, and ... Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands are patrons of Rotary in their countries.  General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, chief executive of Chile, was, at one time, an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Santiago. Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Group is a honorary member of Rotary Club of Bombay.

The Tata Group, is one of India's largest conglomerates, but his heart is set on a project closer to home: creating a $2,500 car that middle-class Indians can buy.
Copyright : RVD/Foto John Thüring Tata
Dr. Karl A. Menninger, M.D. - Chairman of the Board of Trustees Menninger Foundation - Honorary Member Rotary Club of Topeka, Kansas. Rotary International Archives / Central Files-Subject Files / Notables - General. Letter dated 28 January, 1977 from Claire Hettinger, DG 571. Nobel Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer, philosopher and physician, was an honorary member of the Rotary clubs of Colmar, France, and Passau, Germany. The opera singer Florence MacBeth, born in Mankato/Minnesota, Primadonna of the Chicago Civic Opera, was made honorary member of the RC St. Paul, Minnesota as early as 1915.

Crown Prince Umberto of Savoia, was honorary member of the Rotary Club of Cuneo (district 2030, Italy), because this city was his born place.

Crown Prince Umberto of Savoia
Rotarians are impressive travelers.  Sir Edmund Hillary, an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Auckland, New Zealand, the first Caucasian to conquer
Mt. Everest. 
Another honorary Rotarian has flown to the moon!  Former U.S. astronaut Neil A. Armstrong is an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Wapakoneta, Ohio, U.S.A.  Former astronaut Alan B. Shephard, Jr., was an honorary Rotarian in Derry, New Hampshire, U.S.A. Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper was once a down-to-earth honorary Rotarian in Space Center (Houston) Texas, U.S.A
Edmund Hillary Portrait of Neil Armstrong
Frank Borman, Astronaut, Houston #53 Charles Lindberg, First Trans-Atlantic Flight Thomas A. Edison - Inventor - Honorary member of the RC of Orange, NJ - The Weekly Letter Monday, 26, 1931 page 1. General John J. Pershing - WWI US General - Honorary member of the RC of Lincoln, NB 14 - The Rotarian December 1938 page 33.
JJ Pershing PHOTO
General Douglas MacArthur - WWII US General - Honorary member of the RC of Tokyo, Japan (Approximately April or May 1949) The Rotarian - July 1949 page 21. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - 1990 Clyde Pangborn & Hugh Herndon: First non-stop flight across the Pacific, 1931, were honorary members of the Wenatchee, Wash.Rotary Club. Jimmy Carter
Americus, GA since 1995



Portrait of Jimmy Carter
Dr. Charles H. Mayo, cofounder of the Mayo Clinic and an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Rochester, Minn., USA, Fidel "Eddie" Valdez Ramos, GCMG, President of Philippines, 1992>1998 honorary member of RC Manila Roald Amundsen became the first person to reach the /South Pole in 1911. The Rotary Club of Oslo, Norway, made him an honorary member in 1926 Pope Francis. Francis (Latin: Franciscus; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on December 17, 1936) is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, elected on March 13, 2013. He chose his regnal name in honor of the co-founder of the Society of Jesus Francis Xavier. He is the first Pope born in the Americas, and the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere. Beginning in 1998, he served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and was promoted to Cardinal in 2001. 1999 honorary member of RC of Buenos Aires.
Mrs. Rajashree Birla, honorary Rotarian from two clubs Mumbai and Mulund, is a Director on the Board of all the major Aditya Birla Group ( $40 Billion group) of Companies; viz., Grasim, Hindalco, Aditya Birla Nuvo and UltraTech Cement Ltd. Additionally, Mrs. Birla serves as a Director on the Board of the Aditya Birla Group's International Companies spanning Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Egypt.      
Many more Rotarians have achieved prominence, imparting a measure of their good reputations to Rotary itself, but Rotary is not just an organization of the famous. It is an organization of men of goodwill, in which the 4-Way Test and the ideal of "Service Above Self" are the really important measures of fame.

Special thanks for a major portion of this material to the Rotary International Archives Department's Cyndi Beck.

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