Chicago, IL, USA

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Service Above Self!

alt Chicago ROTARY/One Banner

The Early Years[edit]

Rotary was founded on February 23, 1905. Leaders of the Rotary Club of Chicago went on to establish Rotary International in 1910.

As of 2014, The Rotary Club of Chicago, also known as ROTARY/One, is a member of Rotary International, it is organized under Rotary Zone 28 in the Illinois, USA area, and is composed of clubs in District 6450. RGHF also has an extensive, colorful section, with links to all Rotary's Global History at

Seminal Development[edit]

On February 23, 1905, Paul Harris had dinner with his closest friend, Chicago coal dealer Silvester Schiele. Afterwards they walked up to Room 711 of the Unity Building where they met their host, Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer; and another friend, Hiram Shorey, a merchant tailor. Harris proposed that they form a club. No name was chosen for the group. But they agreed to meet next at the offices of Silvester Schiele.

The second meeting was March 9th. Three other men, Harry Ruggles, William Jenson, and A. L. White joined them. Ruggles was a printer, and created the “name badge” version of the Rotary “wheel” and also started singing in Rotary. In fact his singing kept the group from disbanding more than once. It was also decided that “rotating” the meetings made “Rotary” the most logical name. Two weeks later the group gathered at the office of Silvester Schiele, in his coal yard at Twelfth and State Streets. Six of the previous seven were present along with Charles Newton and Arthur B. Irwin.

Societal Contributions—Avenues of Service[edit]

The ROTARY/One Foundation, Inc. is the foundation of the Rotary Club of Chicago. The mission of the ROTARY/One Foundation is to secure the resources necessary to support the Service Mission of the Rotary Club of Chicago.

The ROTARY/One Foundation is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization that is supported solely by voluntary contributions from members of the Rotary Club of Chicago and friends of the ROTARY/One Foundation. They share the commitment to service that began in 1905 with the founding of the Rotary Club of Chicago – 'the world’s first service club’.

Incorporated in the State of Illinois on January 10, 1938, the ROTARY/One Foundation’s stated object is “to dispense charity, to encourage, maintain and assist in the maintenance of educational, benevolent and charitable activities, agencies and institutions, and for the purposes above specified, to receive, manage, take hold and use real and personal property, or the proceeds thereof or income there from, by gift, grant, devise, bequest or purchase and invest, sell, convey, pledge and dispose of the same.”

Community Service[edit]

International Service[edit]

  • Impacting 1000+ students, teachers and family members from a school district in Thailand by enabling them to access clean water;
  • Building shelters and digging water wheels in the Central Plateau of Haiti, a region particularly hard hit by the recent cholera outbreak.

Club Service[edit]

Harry L Ruggles Developed Rotary Wheel and Taught Rotary to Sing
George C Hager 1938-1939 Rotary International President
Herbert J Taylor
Developed the Four-Way Test
Rotary International President
Chesley R. Perry First International General Secretary
Robert Stuart District Governor
Richard Galitz District Governor
James Barker District Governor
Lollie McKeon District Governor
Harold Higgins Club Executive
Robert C Knuepfer, Jr District Governor
David Templin District Governor


Convention planning for Rotary Clubs began in 1910, 1910-11 Chicago, Illinois, USA August 15-17, 1910 was an organization meeting to plan future conventions (attendance 60).
August 21-23, 1911 (attendance 149).

In 1913 Convention Loving Cup awarded for Attendance and Mileage
1916-17 Atlanta, Georgia, USA June 17-21 (2,258)
The Loving Cup Mileage plus Members was first awarded to the Tulsa Rotary Club. They added the base to the cup for mounting plaques. Chicago Rotary Club had the greatest points in the Mileage plus Members contest at the first Atlanta Convention.
Chicago won the 1917 Attendance Convention Loving Cup in Tulsa

Two months after the Dallas convention, in August of 1929, a recession began. On October 24 the US stock market begins to crash. October 25 the market briefly rallied. The U.S. Stock market collapsed on October 29, forever to be referred to as 'Black Tuesday'. Surprisingly, the following convention in Chicago saw a 1,500 member surge in attendees over the precrash event.
1929-30 Chicago, IL, USA June 23-27, 1930 (11,008 attendees)
World War II began on the first of September 1939. It included conflicts in Europe, Pacific, Atlantic, South-East Asia, China, Middle East, Mediterranean, North Africa and Horn of Africa, briefly North and South America. 1943-44 Chicago, IL, USA May 18-22 (403 attendees)
1944-45 Chicago IL, USA May 31, June 5, 12, (19,141 atttendees)
Cold War Years 1954-55 Chicago, IL, USA May 29-June 2 (14,312)
1979-80 Chicago, IL, USA June 1-5 (18,309)
A New Era 2004-2005 Chicago, IL, USA 19-22 June 2005 (39,460)

Vocational Service[edit]

Providing summer internships to 350 Chicago Public High School students through Job1, our signature project, now in its 10th year. Our JOB1 project is in cooperation with the City of Chicago Corporate and Kid Start Initiatives. JOB1 prepares high school students for the workplace with job skills training and substantial summer internships in city businesses and not for profits. Students who successfully complete these internships are eligible to apply and qualify for a limited number of college scholarships in amounts up to $2,500. Each student is assigned to a Rotary member to mentor him or her and act as an advocate.

Youth Service[edit]

  • Clubs sponsored
    • Chicago Rotaract Club
    • University of Chicago Rotaract Club
    • Lincoln Park High School Interact Club
  • Dictionary Project. Every year we deliver over 2,000 dictionaries to Chicago Public School 3rd graders;


♥ Founding Members

1905/02-1906/01 Silvester Schiele ♥ 1906/02-1907/01 Albert L. White 1907/02-1908/10 Paul P Harris ♥ 1908/11-1910/01 Harry L Ruggles 1910/02-1911/01 M. Ramsay
1911/02-1912/06 W. S. Miller 1912-1912 H. A. Crofts 1913-1914 Geo. Landis Wilson 1914-1915 James O Craig 1916/06-1917/05 Harry A Wilkie
1917/06-1918/05 Charles J Becker 1918/06-1919/05 Rufus F Chapin 1919/06-1920/05 William F Kier 1920/05-1921/06 Harold B Harvey 1921/06-1922/06 Ermine J Phillips
1922-1923 1923-1924 Charles A Newton 1924-1925 Alex C Johnson 1925-1926 Charles E Herrick 1926/07-1927/12/10 N. C. Mather
1926/12/10-1928/06 J. N. Vander Vries 1928-1929 H. C. Cheney 1929-1930 Floyd L Bateman 1930-1931 Rowland Haynes 1931-1932 Guy M Cushing, M.D.
1932-1933 George C. Hager 1933-1934 John B. Reynolds 1934-1935 John L Griffith 1935-1936 Richard E Vernor 1936-1937 Charles A Dostal
1937-1938 Lee E Ragsdale 1938-1939 William Ayer McKinney 1939-1940 Herbert J Taylor 1940-1941 Howard K Jackson 1941-1942 Victor C. P. Dreiske
1942-1943 Edwin B Moran 1943-1944 Stanley R. Clague 1944-1945 Chesley R Perry 1945-1946 Max H Hurd 1946-1947 Alex G Shennan
1947-1948 Lester W. Elias 1948-1949 Alfred J. Barboro 1949-1950 Wayne Walker 1950-1951 Charles G Stiles 1951-1952 Thomas G Sexton
1952-1953 Henry D Hughes 1953-1954 Bryant W Ruark 1954-1955 Ollie E Jones 1955-1956 James E Almont 1956-1957 Kenneth Ruggles
1957-1958 Mitchel P Davis 1958-1959 Herbert G Blakeslee 1959-1960 George F Sisler 1960-1961 J Edwin Griswold 1961-1962 Harold J Prebensen
1962-1963 G Frederick Liechty 1963-1964 Alf I Rivenes 1964-1965 Edward F Slattery 1965-1966 H Stanely Wanzer 1966-1967 Don F Geyer
1967-1968 dr Russell F Dudman 1968-1969 Kenneth L Wilson 1969-1970 John B Hayford 1970-1971 Leslie N Christensen 1971-1972 Edward W Boehm, Jr
1972-1973 William L Ryan 1973-1974 Milton F Darr, Jr 1975-1976 Wallace D Johnson 1976-1977 Robert Stuart 1977-1978 Robert W Higgins
1978-1979 Harold M Finley 1979-1980 William G Stratton 1980-1981/04/07 Frank C Sain 1981/05-1981/06 Arthur J Hutton 1981-1982 Alfred J Lilienfeld
1982-1983 Byron M Getzoff 1983-1984 Gary Mann 1984-1985 Earl J Grimm 1985-1986 Norman F Kloker 1986-1987 Charles V Mather
1987-1988 Nicholas S Ambrosi 1988-1989 Ronald L Johnson 1989-1990 John R Meinert 1990-1991 Michael W Sleepeck 1991-1992 William J Horine
1992-1993 Richard Galitz 1993-1994 Rhett Butler 1994-1995 James Barker 1995-1996 Jack O Hedrich 1996-1997 Patrick L O'Malley
1997-1998 Lollie McKeon 1998/07/01-1998/07/06 Harold Higgins 1998/07/06-1999 Millicent Mills 1999-2000 Susan Raterman 2000-2001 Wes Westerfield
2001-2002 John Alberts 2002-2003 Don A Olson 2003-2004 Richard McKay 2004-2005 Robert C Knuepfer, Jr 2005-2006 Evy J Alssaker
2006-2007 Donald W Garner 2007-2008 David Templin 2008-2009 Arol Augsburger 2009-2010 Angelo Loumbas 2010-2010/09 David Durham
2010/09-2011 Andrea Luehmann 2011-2012 Barry Axler 2012-2013 Lisa Russ 2013-2014 Michael Faris 2014-2015 Pedro Cevallos-Candau

Terms fluctuated in duration until the Rotary Year became July to June in 1933. A few years after 1933, circumstances resulted in terms as short as 6 days.

Meetings and Information[edit]

Please join us at our weekly meeting!
Tuesday of each week at 12:10 pm
Union League Club of Chicago
65 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 USA

Contact us at
Rotary Club of Chicago
ROTARY/One Foundation
65 West Jackson Blvd
Chicago, FL 60604 USA

Phone: 312-372-3900

Email the Club


District 6450

Club Virtual Presence[edit]

Club Website
Club Facebook
Rotary Club of Chicago
Twitter @RotaryOne