Author Archives: jaynecoster

July 20: The Power of a Grand Civic Vision: Monona Terrace

–submitted by Ellsworth Brown

Who knew that 115 years ago Madisonian John Olin, believing that Madison was a special place, engaged John Nolen, a preeminent city planner from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to produce a 1911 plan for Madison that became a preeminent example of the urban landscape movement?  And who knew that John Nolen,  author of projects for well over a dozen cities, created plans as well for the Tenney Park-Yahara River Parkway, the UW, and Wisconsin’s state park system?  And especially, who knew that the track of Nolen’s plans affirmed a four-generation vision for Madison that inspired the city, county, state, non-profit organizations and private funding to give us Monona Terrace and leave its traces in a Downtown 2000 Master Plan including 1.7 miles of Lake Monona waterfront, a six-fold increase in the tiff valuation since 1995, a new State Museum, the Overture Center, hotels that will soon double room numbers within two blocks of Monona Terrace, and an affirmed self-confidence in Madison’s common future? 

George Austin knew, and he shared it with us on Wednesday, July 20.  The exceptional attendance at Wednesday’s meeting honored his 23-year career with the city, including 15 years as Planning and Development Director and leader of the Monona Terrace project; and now the Wisconsin History Center’s project manager. 

This is one of Madison’s greatest stories, told to us by the successor to the visions that preceded him.

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch it here:

July 13: Joe Loehnis & Dr. Bill Banfield: Artistic Citizenry: What Does It Mean to be a Contemporary Artist Today?

–submitted by Jessika Kasten

On July 13, Joe Loehnis and Dr. Bill Banfield spoke to the Club on the topic of Artistic Citizenry: What does it mean to be a contemporary artist today? Dr. Banfield is an award-winning composer who is currently serving a three-year Composer in Residence program with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Banfield spoke about the important role the arts play in bridging communities by bringing people together and building community. He also previewed the evenings’ Concerts on the Square piece: Testimony of Tone, Tune and Time that was created as a reflection on liberty and inspired by Frederick Douglass.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here:

“As Rotarians, We Stand Up”

–submitted by 2022-23 Club President Paul Hoffmann

It is the beginning of our Rotary year and I am looking forward to my year as president of the Rotary Club of Madison. I am truly honored.

Let’s put the challenges of the pandemic behind us and rediscover what we love about Rotary.

While we have an incredible club, my goal is to leave the club even stronger with our members even more engaged.

  1. As I was thinking about Rotary and my comments today, I was thinking about what I love about Rotary.
    1. Well, there are so many things…the typical things came to mind.
      1. Our scholarships, our community grants, our exchange programs, our service projects, and of course connecting with so many people from our community. I also love to hear our speakers each week.
  • One unique thing that I love about Rotary is that we STAND UP!
    • Think back to when you first joined Rotary. One of the things that always impressed me about our club is how often we stand up.
    • As a Catholic, I can say Rotarians stand up even more often!
  • We stand up to start our meeting.
    • We stand up, united as Rotarians.
    • We stand up, out of respect for each other.
    • Out of respect for Rotary.
    • Out of respect for our country.
    • We stand up. Recite our 4-way pledge. Sing a patriotic song. Greet each other from across the table and even across the room. Smile and wave.
  • We stand up to recognize our new members. Remember how good that felt to be welcomed to the club!
    • Not just with some nice, polite clapping.
    • No, we vigorously stand up to show our respect.
    • To show them we recognize their accomplishments.
    • To say “Welcome to our club.”
    • To demonstrate we are grateful to have you join us.
    • Grateful to have your help to create lasting change.
    • I love that we honor all our new members by standing up!
  • We stand up to recognize people receiving awards from our club.
    • Whether it is for outstanding senior service, service to our club, service to our community or anytime we feel someone deserves recognition – WE STAND UP!
    • We stand up to say “I am with you”, “I recognize you”, and “I appreciate you”.
    • I love that it is not something we have to be asked to do.
    • We all just scramble to stand up and recognize someone because they provide “service above self.”
  • You get my point, as Rotarians, we stand up.
    • Not just physically, but we stand up against injustice in our community and our world.
    • We stand up by teaching young students an ethical framework to make moral decisions in their lives.
    • We stand up by providing over $750,000 a year to create lasting change.
    • We stand up and serve to make our world a better place.
  • We stand up in so many ways as Rotarians…and that is one of reasons I love being a Rotarian.
  • As I think about how we can be a stronger club, I feel it is by re-engaging you as members to help you rediscover what brought you to Rotary in the first place…and maybe has kept you in Rotary since.
  • We don’t need any more members of our club.
    • Yes, I said it. We don’t “need” any more members.
    • It would be awesome, but it is not necessary.
    • Think about it. We are a top 10 club in the world.
      • We already have 426 members of our club.
      • Amazing people. Incredible people. Interesting people. Generous people.
      • Members united because they want to serve.
      • Members connecting and building a community.
      • Members growing because of all we have to offer as a club.
      • Members that imagine the world can be a better place.
  • Let’s focus on engaging with the members we already have.
    • Let’s focus on making our members count; not counting our members.
      • Let’s connect and welcome the members we already have.
      • Let’s focus on making our club even stronger, more welcoming, more effective and more fun.
  • Let’s focus on welcoming and engaging our members.
    • I have a challenge for all of you.
      • First of all, come to our meetings when you can.  Put it back on your schedules.
        • Of course, you don’t have to. We don’t have an attendance requirement anymore.
        • But, come to the meetings to see your friends.
        • Come to the meeting to hear great speakers and learn something new.
        • Come to the meetings to meet new people.
          • I have an idea – what if you made it your goal to meet someone new at every meeting.
            • Maybe it is someone you are waiting in the buffet line with. Invite them to sit at your table.
            • Introduce yourself. Purposely, try to connect with someone.
            • I can guarantee you will end up meeting them again – at a meeting or out in the community.
            • Let’s make our meetings a welcoming place to be.
          • I have another idea. Let’s all try to get to your tables by noon – sitting down by noon.
            • Yes, the meeting will still start at 12:10 pm.
            • Give yourself at least 10 minutes to greet all the people at your table.
            • Give yourself at least 10 minutes to eat and share a meal with interesting people.
            • Please, don’t short-change your Rotary experience!
  • Let’s focus on re-engaging by doing what our club does even better.
    • For example, each year we award 25 new four-year scholarships.
      • Who in the room thinks that is amazing?
      • Now, who in the room thinks that is enough?
        • We do scholarships well. Really well. It is one of the best things we do.
        • We just might do scholarships better than any other organization in this community.
        • We get amazing scholars. We provide them with mentors.
      • What if we imagined doing it even better? We can do it.
    • Let’s bring back our Rotary Ethics Symposium and make it even better.
    • Let’s focus on making our community grants process even better.
  • Let’s re-engage as members of our club. Let’s re-engage as Rotarians.
    • Please commit to participating in a service project this year.
      • Invite your friends along to help us do a service project.
      • People will come to know us as by the good work we do.
    • Please commit to attending at least 50% of our meetings.
      • Thank you for coming to our lunch meeting today.
      • Every week our numbers are growing and it is fun to be here.
      • Invite someone to come have lunch and learn something new!
    • Please commit to go to a fellowship group, to connect with other members over a glass of wine, an amazing meal, an interesting book, a beautiful hike or bike ride, a fun day shooting clays, or helping to serve our veterans.
    • Please commit to re-engage.
      • And when we re-engage, we will naturally attract new members.
    • Let’s grow our club by making it a welcoming place – for everyone.
  • So, what do you love about Rotary?
    • And I am asking you to rediscover Rotary all over again this year.
    • I am asking you to re-engage as Rotarians.
    • Come out of your pandemic fog and let’s have some fun.
  1. Together, let’s make the Rotary Club of Madison even stronger for generations to come.
    1. Be proud you are a Rotarian.
    1. And not just any Rotarian.
    1. You are a member of the Rotary Club of Madison.
  • I look forward to a great Rotary year with all your help.
  • Thank you for being Rotarians!

June 29: Changing of the Guard – the June 29th Rotary Meeting Looked Back on a Year of Accomplishments and an Optimistic Future

–submitted by Sharyn Alden

“I’ll see you on the other side of ‘Service Beyond Self.”  Those parting words by out-going Rotary president, Teresa Holmes, met with a standing ovation during a tribute to her role in leading the Rotary Club of Madison this past year.

   She pointed out her passion for Rotary became more deeply rooted after she attended the Rotary International Conference a few years ago. “It helped me grow as a Rotarian, especially when I looked around and saw all the great things Rotarians accomplish, not only in our club, but beyond,” she said.

   She was good-naturedly ‘roasted’ with a video of “Bloopers.” It showcased her effervescent spark of enthusiasm for her commitment to Rotary and her sometimes cadre of mispronounced words –i.e. -‘Rodeo Club,’ which brought a round of laughter from the audience as well as from Holmes.

   With the ‘Changing of the Guard,’ Paul Hoffmann transitioned from being president-elect to becoming the 2022-2023 president of the Rotary Club of Madison. He spoke about the many highlights that have helped the club connect, grow and serve over the last year, and his looking forward to the upcoming year as president.

   One area summarized in the “Year in Review” portion of the program highlighted a show of community support in terms of funding. The club provided $755,253 for a wide variety of community projects. Additionally, the Community Grants Campaign raised $155,556 to support local projects, and the Rotary International Campaign raised $53,458.

   Congratulations to Paul Hoffmann in his new position as president of the Rotary Club of Madison!

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:

June 22: The Rise of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics at UW and Beyond

–submitted by Janet Piraino

Author Doug Moe pictured here with Club President Teresa Holmes

On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, Doug Moe, local author extraordinaire, regaled Rotarians with stories from his new book on Kit Saunders-Nordeen and her advocacy of equality in women’s sports.  Title IX, which forbid discrimination on the basis of sex for any activity receiving federal funds, started a sea change in women’s sports, but was initially met with resistance and legal challenges.  Two years after enactment of Title IX, when Kit was named UW-Madison’s first director of women’s athletics, the sports editor of the Wisconsin State Journal advised her “don’t be a bitch,” and said he would never put news of women’s sports on his sports page.  As late as the 1950’s, women were prohibited from running distance races for fear their uteruses might fall out.  Even today, local ski jump Olympian Anna Hoffman said despite concerns over women jumping from highest ski jumps, she had gone off the highest jump many times and bragged that she was “still intact.”  Doug advised that while we should celebrate this momentous anniversary, there was still much to be done to ensure that our daughters have the same athletic opportunities as our sons.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:

June 15: Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

–submitted by Ellsworth Brown

UW Professor Yoshiko Herrera’s subject was one that grips us all:  Ukraine, Russia and a war of punishment and increasing brutality.  Superimposed on the United States, Ukraine ranges from New York City to beyond Chicago.  There are three focal questions:  who, how, or why did it begin; how might it end; and what can we do about it?

Succinctly, Professor Herrera provided answers:  Putin is responsible for the war, stoking Russian citizens’ fears—of NATO for example—as motivation and enforcing it with highly controlled information and brutal internal suppression of opposition.  Similar confrontations in Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea, and Syria drew little attention, and an isolated Putin perceived a weak NATO and a divided United States would be little concerned about Ukraine.  His miscalculation was massive.

Herrera forecast that “Putin will continue until someone forces him to stop.”  A united Ukrainian defense will probably prevail, though at great cost, and then join NATO—it is a country large enough to avoid a takeover, and Russia’s historic tactics have been to punish and destroy, not conquer.  Meanwhile, sanctions have begun to work within a context that will damage Russia and remove trust of it for decades.

And what can we do?  We can talk to friends and acquaintances, support local protests on behalf of Ukraine, make donations to humanitarian aid for Ukraine, and write to our senators and representatives.

We all hope . . . .

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: