February 23- Rotary started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris

On February 23rd, we mark a monumental occasion in the annals of community service and professional networking — the day Rotary was born, springing from the vision of one man: Paul Harris. In 1905, Harris, a Chicago attorney, sought to create a space where professionals from varied backgrounds could come together, share ideas, and build enduring friendships. His idea was simple yet revolutionary.

Paul Harris Day

Gathered in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago, Harris, along with Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey, held the first meeting of what would become the Rotary Club. This initiative was sparked by Harris’s longing for fellowship, a sentiment he believed was shared by many others who had relocated to the city in pursuit of their careers. “I was sure that there must be many other young men who had come from farms and small villages to establish themselves in Chicago… Why not bring them together? If others were longing for fellowship as I was, something would come of it.”

The concept of Rotary quickly took root, and by February 1907, Harris’s leadership and vision had propelled him to become the third president of the Rotary Club of Chicago. Despite initial resistance from some members, Harris’s determination saw Rotary expand beyond Chicago to major cities across the U.S. by 1910.

Paul Harris’s legacy continued to grow until his passing on January 27, 1947. His vision and dedication to service and community have left an indelible mark, inspiring countless Rotarians and friends of Rotary worldwide. His death prompted an international outpouring of contributions, a testament to the impact of his life’s work.

The Rotary Club of Hamilton, founded on June 26, 1913, marks over a century of service, standing as Canada’s third and the world’s 82nd Rotary Club. From its inception with 29 members, it has significantly impacted both local and global communities. Over the years, this esteemed club has supported countless causes, from literacy projects to healthcare initiatives, showcasing a remarkable legacy of friendship, service, and philanthropy.

As we commemorate Paul Harris and the founding of Rotary, we are reminded of the power of vision and commitment to bringing people together for the common good. The Rotary Club of Hamilton continues to uphold these values, fostering a community of professionals dedicated to service and networking.

For those inspired by the story of Paul Harris and interested in becoming part of a global network of professionals committed to making a difference, we invite you to reach out. Join us at the Rotary Club of Hamilton, where we continue to build on the legacy of our founders, creating lasting change in our communities and beyond. Contact us to learn more about how you can contribute to this remarkable journey.