History of Rotary International and Rotary Club of West Wichita

International Club

The first Rotary Club was started on February 23, 1905, in Chicago. Four friends: Gustavus E. Loehr, a mining engineer; Hiram E. Shorey, a tailor; Silvester Schiele, a coal dealer, and Paul P. Harris, a 36 year old lawyer, met to discuss the formation of a men's club. The participants, led by Paul Harris decided that the purpose of such a group would be periodic meetings devoted to good fellowship, social activity, and the exchange of ideas.

Because the men met in rotation at each other's place of business, their club took the name Rotary. To make the club a representative cross-section of the business and professional community, only one representative of each business or profession was admitted. This was the beginning of the classification principle of membership.

While the original basis of Rotary was fellowship, service to others soon became its hallmark. Each club determines its own service activities, which it channels through four "Avenues of Service." The avenues are based on the four-part Object of Rotary: Club, Vocational, Community and International.

Rotary's popularity spread throughout the United States in the decade that followed; clubs were chartered from San Francisco to New York. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been formed on six continents, and the organization adopted the name Rotary International a year later.


West Wichita Club

The Rotary Club of West Wichita was organized by the Rotary Club of Wichita (Downtown) on June 2, 1987 with 35 Charter members and two regular members. The Club was admitted to Rotary International on July 7, 1987. It was then presented its Charter on August 18, 1987, by District Governor Lloyd T. Smith of Newton, Kansas, at a Charter Party.

Today membership numbers over 70 men and women who look to make a difference in the lives of others and build lasting relationships while we do it.

The members of our club are dedicated to serving the community primarily through their involvement with Lawrence Elementary. This includes special activities and achievement awards for each grade level, food for needy families throughout the year, interaction with the students, and an all-school hot dog cookout in May.

Not only do we have a major thrust with our work at Lawrence, we are a well-rounded club with members participating in almost every avenue of Rotary endeavors. The Rotary Club of West Wichita seeks to fulfill the mission of Rotary International to build goodwill and peace throughout the world by hosting foreign exchange students and business professionals from places such as Russia, Panama, Argentina, France, etc.

The Club contributes to the Rotary Foundation, which provides humanitarian, and educational programs that serve the needs of people around the world.

In addition, we are annually among the top 5 clubs in almost every category at the District level.

The Rotary Club of West Wichita meets every Tuesday noon at Rolling Hills Country Club. A feeling of family and a real spirit of camaraderie are found at each meeting.

The territorial limits of the Rotary Club of West Wichita are: that area of Wichita, Kansas which is west of West Street and between the area of Highway 96 on the north and 47th Street on the south.

The operation of the Rotary Club is under the guidance of a Board of Directors which consists of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and eight Directors.