East Lansing Rotary annually honors members of our community who, through their professional and personal lives, make a lasting contribution to our community. This year we recognized three outstanding individuals: the late Gary Olson, Dr. John Dunn and Professor John Seita.

Gary Olson


Recently our community lost a great leader, big thinker and Rotarian, Gary Olson – a member of the Lansing Rotary Club. The East Lansing Rotary chose to honor Olson posthumously with a Vocational Excellence Award. 

Gary Olson held a Masters in Economics from MSU and was the Director of the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency. Yearly visits from Olson to the East Lansing Rotary Club were always a highlight as Olson helped us understand the current economic situation. 

We are proud to count Gary Olson as a friend and fellow Rotarian!

Dr. John Dunn

The Albert White Community Service Award goes to one of our own: Dr. John Dunn. A long time member and a semi-retired ophthalmologist Dunn talked about his philosophy of service. “It is a simple phrase that propels me into service —May I help you?,” said Dunn. That phrase, taken from his father, highlighted the compact that we make when we provide service. We ask permission to help and we help only until we are no longer needed.

Dunn shared a story about Red Cedar Elementary student, a young boy from Southern Sudan that he was helping to learn to read. “Samir was 7 years old and struggling with English. For almost a year we worked together, taking turns writing out answers to problems. One day Samir kept on going –because he could. He no longer needed me,” claimed Dunn triumphantly and tearfully.

At East Lansing Rotary Club we are moved by John Dunn’s quiet generosity, a true leader by example.

Professor John Seita

Professor John Seita was also a recipient of a Vocational Excellence Award. Professor Seita teaches in the School of Social Work and has created a very special program called FAME which helps college students that have come out of the Foster Care system adjust to college life. Seita himself is a graduate from the Foster Care system. He gave credit for his success to his team of colleagues. “I believe in the importance of making a difference one by one,” said Seita.

Congratulations to John Seita and thank you for being such a great role model!