Paul P Harris, a lawyer, was the founder of Rotary International, the world's first and most international service club. Born in Racine, Wisconsin on April 19, 1968, Paul was the second of six children to George N. Harris and Cornelia Bryan Harris. At age 3 he moved to Wallingford, Vermont where he grew up in the care of his paternal grandparents. Married to Jean Thompson Harris (1881 - 1963), they had no children. He received an LLB. from the University of Iowa and received an honorary LLD. from the University of Vermont.
Paul Harris worked as a newspaper reporter, a business teacher, stock company actor, cowboy, and traveled extensively in the U.S.A. and Europe selling marble and granite. In 1896, he went to Chicago to practice law. One evening Paul visited the suburban home of a professional friend. After dinner, as they strolled through the neighborhood, Paul's friend introduced him to various tradesmen in their stores. It was here Paul conceived the idea of a club that could recapture some of the friendly spirit among businessmen in small communities.
On 23 February 1905, Paul Harris formed the first club with three other businessmen: Silvester Schiele, a coal merchant; Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer; and Hiram Shorey, a merchant tailor. Paul Harris named the new club "Rotary" because members met in rotation at their various places of business. Club membership grew rapidly. Soon Paul became convinced that the Rotary club could be developed into an important service movement and strove to extend Rotary to other cities.
Paul was also prominent in other civic and professional work. He served as the first chairman of the board of the national Easter Seal Society of Crippled Children and Adults in the U.S.A. and of the International Society for Crippled Children. He was a member of the board of managers of the Chicago Bar Association and its representative at the International Congress of Law at The Hague, and a committee member of the American Bar Association. He received the Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts of America for distinguished service to youth, and was decorated by the governments of Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France and Peru.
Paul maintained his law office for most of his life. He spent much time traveling and was invited to speak to Rotarians at annual conventions, district and regional meetings, and other functions. When President emeritus Paul Harris passed away on January 27, 1947, his dream had grown from an informal meeting of four men to some 6,000 clubs. In the past five decades, the organization has grown to more than 27,500 clubs with 1.2 million members brought together through Paul Harris' vision of service and fellowship.
The highest award that a Rotary Club can award one of its members is called the Paul Harris Fellowship and is usually awarded for service to the club over and above what would be considered usual. Anyone who contributes – or in whose name is contributed – a gift of $1,000 or more to the Annual Programs Fund may become a Paul Harris Fellow, an honor named on behalf of the founder of Rotary. They do not have to be a Rotarian. This is one of the most meaningful ways an individual can be honored in the world of Rotary. Paul Harris recognition occurs with cumulative giving of $1000. The Ashland Club has had 57 present and past members who became Paul Harris Fellows. Donations from the club total $75,438. Bequest society occurs with a gift in your estate of $1000. Benefactor recognition occurs with a gift in your estate of at least $1000.
The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
FIRST: The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
SECOND: High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
THIRD: The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;
FOURTH: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world of fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
- High ethical standard in businesses
- Worthiness of all useful occupations
- Each occupation an opportunity to serve society
Rotary meets at Noon every Tuesday
The Niblick Bar and Grill
3000 Golf Course Road, Ashland, Wisconsin 54806
The main objective of Rotary is service in the community and throughout the world. Rotarians build goodwill and peace, provide humanitarian service, and encourage high ethical standards in all vocations. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self.”