Rotary International, organization of business and professional people, founded (1905) by Paul Percy Harris, a Chicago lawyer. Beginning with one club in Chicago, it spread to other cities, and in 1910 the National Association of Rotary Clubs was formed. After other branches were established in many countries throughout the world, the name was changed (1922) to Rotary International. Each club contains no more than one representative of each business or profession in its locality. The name was derived from the original custom of meeting in rotation at the members' places of business. The organization promotes friendly cooperation and high standards of service among business people, supports charities and welfare activities, and encourages international friendship; it also oversees a scholarship program for international study. Its membership (1.2 million) is spread among more than 161 countries; its headquarters are in Evanston, Ill. Its official publication is the Rotarian.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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