Rotary Club of New Bern is Celebrating 101 Years of Service

Susan Moffat Thomas
Susan Moffat Thomas raises glass for Rotary Club of New Bern

The Rotary Club of New Bern’s June 29 Installation Banquet at the New Bern Golf & Country Club was a historic occasion. In addition to the installation of the officer’s and board members for the coming year, our Club entered its 101st year of being a part of a worldwide organization that began in 1905, when Chicago lawyer Paul Percival Harris, invited four men to meet on a weekly basis, to create a professional club that would recapture the same friendly spirit he felt in the small towns of his youth.

As they rotated meetings and the group continued to grow, they officially adopted the name Rotary and began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The first motto Service Not Self was adopted, and in 1922, Rotary International was established and Paul Harris was the first RI president.

In New Bern, Harry Jacobs presided as the temporary chairman at a July 20, 1920 meeting attended by 11 leading citizen and “Will Broadfoot, a member of the Wilson Rotary Club explained thoroughly, the object and workings of the character of a Rotary Club.” At a September 27 meeting, eight community leaders attended for the purpose of “perfecting the organization of the New Bern Rotary Club,” and on motion, it was agreed unanimously to affiliate with the International Association of Rotary Clubs. On December 10, 1920, the coveted charter was given to, the then youngest club, and Harry Jacobs became its first President. A century later, the common denominators for the men and women in our Club, is pretty much the same … it has to do with what I simply think is an instinctive desire to participate and give of themselves to serve others.

Rotarians in our Club have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to raise untold millions of dollars to participate in projects from literacy and peace to water and health, working to better our world, advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. As our Club journeys into another century of community service, it will continue to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprises, and, in the words of Paul Percival Harris, “the foundation upon which Rotary is built, is friendship; on no less firm foundation could it have stood.”

By Susan Moffat-Thomas