On January 9, 2017, East Lansing Rotary President Elect Ody Norkin presented East Lansing Rotarian Steven Melnyk with a Paul Harris +1 pin in recognition of his ongoing support for the Rotary Foundation. Pictured here, left to right are Steven Melnyk and Ody Norkin.
The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of US$1,000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
It was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships.
The first Paul Harris Fellows include 1937-38 RI Director Allison G. Brush and longtime RI Treasurer Rufus F. Chapin, both for donations made in 1946. Mrs. Adan Vargas was the first woman to receive the recognition, for a gift made in 1953. Mrs. Harry L. Jones was the second, and one of only five people recognized for contributions made in 1957.
Early Paul Harris Fellows received a certificate of recognition. In 1969, the Foundation unveiled the first Paul Harris Fellow medallion at the RI Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Japanese metal artist Fiju Tsuda created the piece under the direction of then-past Foundation Trustee Kyozo Yuasa. Today, Paul Harris Fellows receive a certificate and pin. They are also eligible to purchase a Paul Harris Fellow medallion.
Rotarians have a tradition of supporting the Foundation by honoring others. Ida LeTulle Taylor became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1978 when her husband, then-District Governor Vann Taylor, made a donation in her name in honor of their 34th wedding anniversary. The gift also made her the 25,000th Paul Harris Fellow.
At the International Assembly in 1979, then-RI President-elect James Bomar challenged each Rotary club to make one non-Rotarian a Paul Harris Fellow. The Rotary Club of Pikesville, Maryland, USA, responded by making a donation in the name of Mother Teresa in 1980. The entertainer Pearl Bailey also became a Paul Harris Fellow through a joint effort of the Rotary clubs in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Many other notable figures have been named as Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and Jonas Salk.
The number of Paul Harris Fellows reached the one million mark in 2006.
Fellow Rotarian’s –
I wanted to share with you that when Raef Fadel met and talked about his Peru Global Outreach Mission a few weeks ago, it was his hope that we, as a club, would offer some project support, specifically financial. This will be the ninth year this mission trip has taken place. If you remember from his presentation about 35 pre-med students, doctors and professors travel to South America with many supplies to help the people in need as best they can. The spend one week in Lima, and one week traveling up the Amazon, stopping at small villages and providing medical services off the boat.
The International committee listened to Raef share his experience and wants to support their project, but as a club we have already made our financial commitments for the year. Therefore, the International committee has agreed to put it on their agenda and will look at supporting this project as a budgeted line item for next year. That being said, Raef and his group of pre-med students have been a big help to us in working towards getting our MSU Rotaract club back off the ground. Raef himself is a past president of our previous Rotaract club and has introduced us to Colleen Reidy, a premed student who is helping us get the program reignited at Michigan State. Good things are happening as it pertains to the Rotaract club including working cooperatively with Okemos and Lansing in sponsoring our “renewed” club at Michigan State.
I would like to speak to the club about this project and ask that we “Pass the Hat” at our next meeting to support the Peru project this year. They have support from five other Rotary clubs including a $5,000 match from Traverse City, but it would look good for them to get support from what they would like to consider their parent club (because of the Rotaract connection).
Please bring your wallet or checkbook and an open heart and I hope we can send a few dollars to support this worthwhile project.
Yours in Rotary Service,
The Rotary Club of East Lansing was the non-profit recipient in 2015. This year, Rotarian Jim Little is the individual recipient.