The Founder of Rotary – Paul Harris
Paul Harris was born in Wisconsin but was raised in Vermont. After attending Princeton, the University of Vermont and the University of Iowa, Harris settled in Chicago where he lived until his death in 1947. He began a law practice in 1896, and established the first Rotary club “in fellowship and friendship” with three business associates. His initial goal was to create a club of professional and businessmen, but he soon realized that Rotary needed a greater purpose. While he served as President of his club, it initiated its first public service project – constructing public toilets in Chicago. This step transformed Rotary into the world’s first service club. When Harris died in 1947, more than 300,000 Rotarians mourned. An outpouring of contributions to the Rotary Foundation created the Paul Harris Memorial Fund, which continues to support the Rotary Foundation today.