The Benefits of Joining Rotary

Rotary is organized at club, district and international levels to carry out its program of service around the globe.  Rotarians are members of their clubs and the clubs are members of the global association known as Rotary International (RI) headquartered in Evanston, Illinois.  Rotary International is the world’s oldest service club organization. Rotary members form a global network of business and professional leaders who volunteer their time and talents to serve their communities and the world.


As a Rotarian, you will enjoy the following rich traditions that are the basis for this group’s formation.



Rotary is a service club that lets you make a difference as part of the world’s largest family of givers.  You will have many opportunities to assist a wide variety of local, national and international humanitarian causes that will touch the lives of people you will never meet.



These are two of the principal reasons why Rotary began.  The ability to network with a cross section of leaders of other businesses and professions who help each other, and collectively help others, while promoting lasting friendships.


Other benefits of Rotary



Rotary members are prominent individuals.  They are leaders of the many businesses and professions that influence policy and help guide our communities.


Continuing Education

Your professional and personal knowledge will be enriched by expert speakers at weekly luncheons.  These speakers address a wide range of issues in our communities, nation, and world.


Development of Ethics

Through the Four‐Way Test, Rotarians promote high ethical standards that produce priceless dividends.


Personal Growth

Your personal development and people skills will grow when you get involved with other community leaders and like ideals.   


Leadership and Public Speaking Skills

Countless opportunities are available for you to lead, speak, motivate and learn from others when you get involved in Club committees, projects, and meetings.


Cultural Awareness

Rotary International comprises more than 1.2 million Rotarians in almost all countries in the world.  Your membership in Thiensville-Mequon Rotary provides a unique opportunity to expand your global vision, contacts, and enrich lives globally.   Fellow Rotarians are always welcomed visitors at any Rotary Club meeting, anywhere, in any country.


The first four Rotarians (from left): Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, Hiram Shorey, and Paul P. Harris, circa 1905-12.History

The first four Rotarians (from left): Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, Hiram Shorey, and Paul P. Harris, circa 1905-12.

Paul Harris, an attorney, wanted to create a professional group with the same friendly spirit he felt in the small towns of his youth. On 23 February 1905, Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey gathered at Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago. This was the first Rotary club meeting. They decided to call the new club “Rotary” after the practice of rotating meeting locations.

Within five years clubs had formed across the country, from San Francisco to New York.

In August 1910, Rotarians held their first convention in Chicago. The 16 clubs that existed at that time united to form the National Association of Rotary Clubs.

In 1912, the name changed to International Association of Rotary Clubs to reflect the addition of clubs in other countries. The name Rotary International was adopted in 1922.

By July 1925, Rotary had grown to more than 2,000 clubs and an estimated 108,000 members  on six continents.

Rotary’s reputation attracted presidents, prime ministers, and a host of other luminaries to its ranks — among them author Thomas Mann, diplomat Carlos P. Romulo, and composer Jean Sibelius.

As Rotary grew, members pooled their resources and used their talents to serve their communities. The organization's dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its motto: Service Above Self.

The first meeting of the Thiensville-Mequon (T-M) Rotary Club was held July 29, 1937, with the charter being officially presented on September 21, 1937. There were 20 original members. Edwin Wiese was the first president; Martin Blank was vice president; George Kroeger was secretary; and Oscar Bublitz was treasurer.  From the very beginning, the Thiensville-Mequon Rotary Club was alert to community needs, and began immediately to support and initiate worthwhile community programs and projects. One of the earliest projects was the sponsorship of the Boy Scout Program. Other early projects were the County Apple Show and Smokey, the Fire Clown (a school program). During the World War II years, the club was involved in the sale of war bonds, clothing drives and similar wartime activities. Over the years, the club has sponsored many activities in conjunction with the school district, the Village of Thiensville and the City of Mequon.