Category Archives: Centennial Celebration

Centennial Event at Overture Center February 26 2013

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The following summary article about our February 26th Centennial Event is a fictitious account of a conversation between our Rotary News reporter, Mark Stover (above right), and Paul Harris (above left), the founder of Rotary.

“Good evening, Mr. Harris.”

“Good evening.”

“Welcome to the 100th anniversary celebration of the Rotary Club of Madison here in the historic Capitol Theater.”

“It’s a lovely venue. I believe I recall being here shortly after it opened. About 1927 or ’28, if memory serves. And let me tell you, at the tender age of nearly 145 years, memory gets a bit tricky at times.”

“I imagine it does indeed. Still, you look in fine form tonight, sir.”

“Thank you, thank you.”

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(Pictured above from left: Don Helfrecht & Ross Levine; Keith & Juli Baumgartner; Dick & Liz Fayram with Susan Hunt & Karl Gutknecht)

DSC_0002“We have reserved a special place for you here in the anteroom to the Theater itself. People are very excited to have their picture taken with you. This is Dave Ewanowski (pictured at left with his wife, Mayo) and

DSC_0008John Bonsett-Veal (pictured at left with his wife, Jan). They’ll be assisting you this evening.”

“Well, it’s very nice to meet you gentlemen. However, I didn’t come all this way just to sit in one place. Rotary is all about getting around to meet your fellow business men and now, of course, business women. I’ve brought along this cut-out that can stand in for me. Really, in the two-dimensional photograph it will be hard to tell if it’s me or not. I’ve gotten quite thin these last 66 years or so. Completely lost my appetite. I suppose you understand why – I mean the obvious reason, of course. So, gentlemen if you can make do with my cardboard counterpart here, I’d like to meet some of these fine Madison Rotarians.”

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(Pictured above from left:  Kirk Kittleson & Jessica Schock with Jocelyn & Ryan McFadden; Marcia Whittington, Beth Prochaska & Traci Mann; Greg Anderson, Herman Baumann & Kay Schwichtenberg & Mike McKay)

“Of course, sir. I guess we can pass on the hors d’oeuvres then. I’ve sampled some and they’re delicious. Oh, sorry. Of course.”

“So many interesting people. And the dress has changed. I notice, for instance, women wearing boas. How very modern.”

DSC_0016“Ah, that’s Dawn Crim (left). She’s chosen to reflect the promotional work that Tracy Perkins and Juli Aulik did to get so many people here tonight. Over 230 members and guests in attendance, as I understand. And Juli is one of seven women to serve as Club President.”

“I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see that change in the Constitution of the clubs – women as members, I mean. Really rounds out the emphasis on full community service, don’t you know.”

Picture3“I do indeed, sir. Ah, here’s Wes Sparkman (right), the current Club President. He’s about to make a few remarks and lead us all in a toast to the future of Rotary in Madison.”

[All Club members and guests assembled to sing “Happy Birthday” to the accompaniment of the old theater pipe organ ably played by Elaine Mischler.]

“I see the tradition of music and singing at Club meetings is alive and well in Madison.”

Picture5“Oh, yes sir. At every meeting. Madison’s own Mama Digdown New Orleans-Style Brass Band is also playing here tonight. One of the band members is related to our own Jeff Bartell – he generally plays piano to accompany the Club’s regular weekly musical stylings.”

“Ah, this is all so pleasant. But, I’m afraid at my advanced age, I’m not able to keep up for long with you young people.”
DSC_0003“You do appear to be fading, sir. I mean, quite literally. I can actually see through you to Renee Moe (at left with Dave Johnson), our next Club President coming up behind you. Oh, Mr. Harris. Are, are you there?”

“I’ll always be with you, if not in form, certainly in spirit. My best wishes to all Madison Rotarians – and congratulations. Keep up the tradition of service above self. That work actually does last forever. Good night – good night all.”

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(Pictured above from left: Tracy Perkins & Juli Aulik; Virginia & Perry Henderson; Vince O’Hern & Linda Baldwin)

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(Pictured above from left: Melanie Ramey; Brian Fick & Dora Zuniga; Lester Pines & Roberta Gassman)

Our thanks to the Event Planning Committee of Juli Aulik (co-chair), Terry Anderson, Jeff Bartell (co-chair), Virginia Bartelt, Everett Mitchell and Tracy Perkins and to Centennial Planning Committee Co-chairs Deb Archer and Linda Baldwin and the entire Centennial Committee.

Celebrating 100 Years: Club Hears First-Hand Experience of the WW2 Blitz of London

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial Logo   As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century.  This week’s message is shared by committee member Jerry Thain:

Rabbi Raphael LevineThe January 20, 1942, issue of the Rotary News reported on the talk to the Club by Rabbi Raphael Levine (left), a native of Minnesota, who had, for several years, been the leader of “the largest Jewish congregation in England” describing his experiences in London before and after the onset of World War Two and the ensuing bombing of London. He gave great credit to Winston Churchill for the determination of the English in that time, describing him as “Heaven sent to England” to preserve freedom.

Although the war was fought to repel a particularly odious form of dictatorship, the victory by the Allies did not bring an end to racial and other discrimination in the United States. A rather poignant statement was reported by William Vance Russell of Waukesha in his address to the Club summarized in The Rotary News of October 2, 1948, on preserving American democracy. Pointing out that “we have not yet learned to live with one another,” he noted that the prize winning entry in a contest on what would have been the best punishment for Hitler was submitted by “a young Negro girl” who wrote that ‘Hitler should have been put in a black skin and placed in any American white school’.”

Celebrating 100 Years: General’s Hat Ceremony

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century. This week’s message is shared by committee member Rich Leffler:

One of the practices of this Club, no longer used, was the “General’s Hat Ceremony.” According to John Jenkins, “History of the Rotary Club of Madison,” “the special chapeau was awarded to one or two members each week to honor them for their ‘community service in action,’ at once providing a more congenial Club environment, pleasing the members so honored, and encouraging other members to appreciate and act in terms of Rotarian ideals” (p. 145).

Conrad ElvehjemOn February 5, 1958, the General’s Hat was awarded to Conrad (Connie) A. Elvehjem, (left) who had just been appointed by the Regents to be President of the University of Wisconsin, to succeed E. B. Fred on July 1, 1958. Elvehjem received his Ph.D. from the UW in 1927. He was a long-time member of the faculty and an internationally known biochemist whose research in nutrition resulted in hundreds of scientific papers. He was Dean of the Graduate School from 1946 until he was appointed President. He served as President until his sudden death in 1962 at age 61.

The Rotary News of February 8, 1958, reported on the General’s Hat Ceremony and printed Elvehjem’s thanks the following week, when he presented the award to Rotarian Louie Hirsig.

Elvehjem’s membership in Rotary was symbolic of the close association the Club has had with the University. Many Club members, from very early on, were members of the faculty, and the Club’s podium was useful to the faculty and administration as a means of communicating university events and research to the greater Madison community. Elvehjem referred to this relationship as a “symbiosis.”

Join Us to Make More Rotary History on February 26

Your Centennial Celebration sub-committee has extended the registration deadline for our Tuesday, February 26 event through February 14. You may still register through the office, at our meeting tomorrow, or online.  Click here for details and link to online registration.

With much input from the full Centennial committee, this event will focus on fellowship – there is no long program, we ourselves are the main attraction. We will put the Capitol Theater to use in fun ways and have a lovely evening kicking off our special Centennial year.

One of the tasks I volunteered to work on is a slide show of images from our history. This led Terry Anderson and Rich Leffler (both Centennial committee members) to meet me at the office one Friday afternoon to go through our archives together. Rich has been working on them for the documentary project, and it was great assistance to have him guide us. It took enormous restraint to not stop to read everything and have Rich tell a story to put materials in context. I now regret not convening later in the afternoon with a bottle of Scotch and a sleeping bag because it was truly a special experience to get to review the archives, and it was far too brief and expeditious a tour.

As a result, when you join us at the event, playing on the big screen will be snapshots of great moments from our first 100 years: some formal portraits, some action shots, past anniversary celebrations, current members in years past, and current members in the present. Here is one of my favorites:

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The hand-written label on the back of it reads “Baseball team loses game in 1925, watches Kiwanis’ team victory banquet at new Madison Club.”

Also in the show will be sets of historic and contemporary photos taken from the Capitol dome. By sheer chance, Terry Anderson hosted a vocational fellowship group at the Capitol last summer, and Rick Kiley snapped photos all the way around the Capitol. Terry observed these photos happen to match historic photos in a project the full Centennial committee is working on with Gregg Tipple. They are paired in the presentation so you can see “then and now.”

We will celebrate not only our past but our present and future on the 26th. I hope to see you there.

Juli Aulik
Rotary Centennial Celebration Event co-chair

Celebrating 100 Years: Politics & Poetry at Madison Rotary Club in the 1960s

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial Logo   As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century.  This week’s message is shared by committee member Jerry Thain:

The polarization of politics today is a topic of widespread analysis. As is well known, there is no official political leaning of our Club although individual members certainly are free to express strong views to others at their table during the Club meetings (and sometimes in a birthday message). It is unusual for the Club newsletter to note political leanings other than in reporting the statements of speakers. Thus, an interesting situation was presented in 1968, following the very narrow victory of Richard Nixon over Hubert Humphrey in the presidential race. In the November 16, 1968, Club newsletter, Rotarian Cecil L. “Duke” Duquaine wrote a tribute to Nixon, referring to him as the one who would bring us together as a country–rather ironic in light of later developments.

Probably as a means of evenhandedness, the November 23, 1968 newsletter carried a poem by Rotarian Joe Silverberg entitled, “The Loyal Opposition…or Close Counts Only in Horseshoes!” This piece, while honoring Humphrey, also recognized the control that election victory brought to Nixon and his party.

Perhaps present day Rotarians–including Joe Silverberg–will find these two poems about politics somewhat bemusing. It is hard to imagine anything similar occurring today.

Incidentally, Cecil L. Duquaine who was Club President in 1966-67, apparently enjoyed expressing his views in poetry. The December 17, 1966, edition of the Club News carries a poem by him extolling the hardworking and dedicated secretary of the Club, Brud Hunter, entitled “Our Brud.” It seems certain that there was no effort to rebut that piece by other Rotarians in light of the excellent reputation of Brud Hunter as vital to the Club’s successful operation. The duties of the Secretary noted in the poem may be compared with those of the Executive Director’s office today, if one wishes.

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in History

As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century.  This week’s message is shared by committee member Rich Leffler:

Committee on Code of Ethics

The Rotary Code of Ethics for Business Men of All Lines

At one time, Rotary had an astounding Code of Ethics, as once required by the Bylaws. But for reasons that are unclear, the Code fell into disuse. Once, it was widely published and distributed. Today, it can hardly be found. We are publishing this remarkable Code of Ethics here, along with a brief history of its rise and fall as a tenet of Rotary.

In 1912, Rotary president Glenn C. Mead proposed that the newly formed Business Methods Committee prepare a code of business ethics for “the advancement of business morality.” (The Rotarian Commemorative Centennial Edition [June 2005], 89) The chair of the committee was Robert W. Hunt of Sioux City, Iowa. Much of the Code was composed by an unofficial committee of Hunt’s fellow Iowa Rotarians while en route to the June 1914 convention in Houston. One of these Iowans, J. R. Perkins, explained that “the articles of the code were revised both as to phrasing and content. The third, eighth, and ninth articles, in their basal ideas . . . grew out of the general discussion. The tenth article, which in the writer’s judgment is the highest ethical upreach of them all, did not appear in [the original] manuscript, tho it was held to be germane to the whole and really expressive of what is fundamental in Rotary.” Perkins also explained that the stunning final paragraph of the “Summary” was “a bit of pragmatic philosophy from William James, but he really borrowed it from European philosophy.”(J. R. Perkins, “History of the Rotary Code of Ethics,” The Rotarian 10, no. 2 [February 1917], 119–21).

The Rotary Code of Ethics for Business Men of All Lines, printed here, was adopted by the Sixth Annual Convention of the International Association of Rotary Clubs meeting in San Francisco in July 1915. Great faith was put into the power of the Code. A report to the 1919 Convention argued that “if the business men of the world would adopt the Rotary Code of Ethics as their rule of conduct, as their guide in commercial intercourse, the world would be a safe place for democracies. . . . Had the business world been operating according to a standard of practices which conform to our Code of Ethics, does any real Rotarian believe that we would have been plunged into a night of horrors such as lasted from August 1914, to November 1918?” (Robert H. Timmons, “Report of Committee on Publicity,” Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Convention . . . [July 16–20, 1919], 430–31)

In 1921, when the Rotary Club of Madison celebrated the sixteenth birthday of Rotary with a full-page spread in the Wisconsin State Journal, it proudly published the Code of Ethics and declared that Rotary is “based on the following Code of Ethics.” (WSJ, February 23, 1921) And the History of our Club recalls that in the mid-1920s the Club’s “leadership began to use it [the Code] as the focal point of a number of somber investigations into the allegedly unethical business dealings of some of its most prominent members.” (John Jenkins, History of the Rotary Club of Madison [Madison, 1990], 56) This latter point deserves scrutiny in future blogs.

But as early as 1921, there were objections to the Code. Ironically, it was Rotary President Mead who asked “Is the Rotary Code of Ethics a code of ethics at all? Is it not a confession of faith or a creed?” (The Rotarian 19, no 1 [July 1921], 39) Similarly, in 1924, Rotary president Guy Gundaker echoed Mead when he observed that the Code was “more in the line of a confession of faith, or a creed.. . . [The Code] should be specific, plain-spoken, and expressed in commonly understood terms; also that its provisions should be given as rules of conduct expressed as ‘Shall and Shall Not.’ This, of course, does not preclude preambles to any of the sections of an informative character.” (The Rotarian 25, no. 3 [September 1924], 42) By 1931, Rotary began to consider itself less a business club than a service club, and Rotary International adopted its “Aims and Objects,” which had application beyond business matters. The Board appointed a committee to revise the Code of Ethics. The Code continued to be published in the Manual of Procedure, but it was no longer separately distributed. In 1943, the Four-Way Test was adopted, and it became a sort of substitute code of ethics with broad application.

In 1951–52, the Board discontinued the distribution of the Code of Ethics entirely. In 1977, an attempt was made to “revive the publication and dissemination” of the Code. But the following year, the Board determined that “because of changes in the realm of business and professional life since the adoption of the code, any revision and updating for the purpose of re-instituting the publication and distribution of the code would be ineffectual.” So the Board voted not to revise the Code or to distribute it. In 1980, reference to the Code was removed from the RI Bylaws.

Although the Four-Way Test is often referred to as a Code of Ethics, it has never been so designated. In fact, the 1981 Manual of Procedure stated that “The Four-Way Test should not be referred to as a ‘code’ in any sense.” So, presently, Rotary has no code of ethics. Our Club is, however, as concerned as ever about ethical behavior, and our annual Ethics Symposium program extends outward to high school students in the Madison area. It is one important way of serving the community.

This introduction is partially based on Doug Rudman, “The Rotary Code of Ethics,” The Rotary Global History Fellowship (An Internet Project) ( and Rudman, “Is the Four-Way Test a Code of Ethics?” (ibid.).