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A Brief History of The Rotary Club of Carbondale (ILLINOIS)

The Rotary Club of Carbondale is located in beautiful Carbondale, Illinois. Carbondale is also the home of Southern Illinois University

Our Club was founded on May 1, 1920, as the third Rotary Club of Southern Illinois. Today, we are proudly one of three clubs in Carbondale.

Southern Illinois had two Rotary clubs in 1920 — East St. Louis and Harrisburg.  The Harrisburg club helped start the Carbondale club on May 1, 1920.  In 1922 the Carbondale club helped start Rotary clubs in Herrin and Murphysboro, and in 1988 the Rotary Club of Carbondale-Breakfast.  Also in 1988, the Rotary Club of Nakajo, Japan, became a sister club in the city where SIUC had had a branch campus.

With one hundred years of club history, we consider ourselves to be quite unique. We are especially interested in education and international affairs, along with regular community and vocational services.  The Club (#3302) is a part of District 6510 (Zone 31), where we work together on projects such as sending college Rotary Ambassadors for a year of study abroad, in exchanging groups of five non-Rotarian young business and professional persons to districts in other countries for six weeks through the Group Study Exchange program, and in bringing crippled children from Belize, Central America, for rehabilitation at Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis.  High School students are exchanged with students in other countries through the International Youth Exchange program, and world community service projects help countries in need.

The Rotary Club of Carbondale has had six District Governors from its membership. The first African-American member, John Q. Clark, joined the Club in 1957. The first woman member, Gayla Borgognoni, joined in 1988, after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that the exclusion of women constituted illegal discrimination.

A Brief History of The Rotary International

Rotary International was founded in 1905 in Chicago by Paul Harris, a lawyer desiring to meet people of other professions and businesses.  It soon became a service organization, under the motto, “Service Above Self.”  Rotary clubs spread rapidly, becoming international in 1912.  By 1920 there were 1,000 clubs, including clubs in Europe and Asia.  Currently there are around 29,000 Rotary clubs organized into 530 districts in 160 countries – about 1.2 million Rotarians. Rotary International has been participating since 1988 with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in working toward the elimination of polio worldwide.  There are no distinctions to nationality, race, religion or gender.