Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.


Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve been a part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong throughout Rotary:
We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.
We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.
Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.
1940-1941 Jesse F. Moulton
1941-1942 Robert B. Ball
1942-1943 G. Henry Knoll, M.D.
1943-1944 Clinton E. Rose & William H. Lucas
1944-1945 Rev. E. Scott Byers
1945-1946 Arthur L. Freeman
1946-1947 James A. Davenport, Jr.
1947-1948 Edward W. Spry
1948-1949 Maurice F. Ballard
1949-1950 W. Bryant Currier
1950-1951 Edward J. Hudson
1951-1952 James L. Holden
1952-1953 Gus H. Ellis
1953-1954 Rev. Herbert W.H. Cory
1954-1955 R. Vincent March
1955-1956 Louis C. Fischer
1956-1957 Calvin H. Derrick
1957-1958 Donald E. Horr
1958-1959 Stephen O. Gehring
1959-1960 Orrin J. Mitchell, Jr.
1960-1961 Charles W. Napper
1961-1962 William J. Nicholson
1962-1963 Harold C. Gears
1963-1964 Howard B. Drysdale
1964-1965 Donald Fiero
1965-1966 Russell Iannello
1966-1967 William R. Thomas
1967-1968 Donald L. Cooney, Esq.
1968-1969 Gerald J. Halligan
1969-1970 Seely F. Pratt, Jr.
1970-1971 John R. Harmon
1971-1972 William L. Cecere, Jr.
1972-1973 David S. Frost
1973-1974 Lawrence T. Reid
1974-1975 Bruce E. Baker, M.D.
1975-1976 Robert L. Boyce
1976-1977 William E. Broberg
1977-1978 John F. Innis, Sr.
1978-1979 Roger D. Paladino
1979-1980 Charles E. Heywood
1980-1981 Francis J. DeYoung
1981-1982 Laurence W. Boylan, Esq.
1982-1983 Barton P. Dambra
1983-1984 Loren E. Wetzel
1984-1985 Leonard J. Freitag
1985-1986 Lawrence T. Reid
1986-1987 Robert F. Harrington
1987-1988 Anthony J. Gugino, Jr., D.D.S.
1988-1989 Robert E. Jones, D.V.M.
1989-1990 Robert A. Carlson, Jr.
1990-1991 Stephen P. Moulton
1991-1992 Robert J. Bennett
1992-1993 Anil K. Sawhney, D.D.S.
1993-1994 David J. Grayson, Jr.
1994-1995 James E. DeLooze
1995-1996 Rhett M. Clark
1996-1997 Dorothy S. Rupley, D.C.
1997-1998 Timothy P. Moag
1998-1999 Lynne Belluscio
1999-2000 Thomas W. McGinnis
2000-2001 Philip E. Tooze
2001-2002 Robert A Corrado
2002-2003 Ronald B. Pangrazio
2003-2004 Carol Ann Wolfe
2004-2005 Cheryl A. Ragalevsky, D.V.M.
2005-2006 Timothy J. Spezzano
2006-2007 Mary Jane Brooke
2006-2007 Robert J. Bennett
2007-2008 Patricia A. Hinett
2008-2009 Lynn Freeman
2009-2010 Martha M. Bailey
2010-2011 Jerome Grasso
2011-2012 Jerry McCullough
2012-2013 Samantha Vagg
2013-2014 Tracy Ford
2014-2015 Randy Vink
2015-2016 Anthony J. Gugino, Jr., D.D.S.
2016-2017 David J. Grayson, Jr.
2017-2018 Scott McCumiskey
2018-2019 James Ellison
2019-2020 Mary Young
2020-2021 Mary Margaret Ripley