The Bartlesville Rotary Club is one of the oldest and best-known service organizations in the community. The club is often referred to as “the Monday noon Rotary” to distinguish it from the Daybreak Rotary Club, which meets on early Friday mornings. With a membership of about 130 men and women, the club represents a cross-section of business, civic and professional leadership throughout Bartlesville.
In a nutshell, here’s what our club is about…our so-called “elevator speech”…
The Bartlesville Rotary Club is a network of men and women who influence positive change in the community and the world. Our members are dedicated to improving the quality of life for everyone, with a particular focus on helping students become productive citizens. We create, volunteer for and fund community-based activities as well as collaborate with other organizations locally and internationally to live out the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”
The Bartlesville Rotary Club turned 100 years old in 2015!
The club was chartered with 25 members in December 1915, only 10 years after the first club had been established by Paul Harris in Chicago in 1905. At the time, there were 189 Rotary Clubs, but most of them were in large cities with populations over 50,000. By contrast, Bartlesville’s population at the time was about 14,000.
Some of the early members of the club included physicians, lawyers, bankers, ice plant operators, a hotel manager, a music store owner, a clothier, a zinc plant manager, a meat market owner, drug store owners, and executives of the many local oil companies including Phillips Petroleum. The editor of The Morning Enterprise, Noble Welty, along with the previous owner of the newspaper, Thomas Latta, were instrumental in getting the club started, although Welty relocated before the club was chartered.
From the very start, Bartlesville Rotarians took seriously their responsibility to support both the international Rotary organization and to seek opportunities for local service. Rotarians were active in backing the construction of a junior high school, improvement of county roads, procurement of a site for a new federal building, and construction of a new hospital. They also worked for better community recreational facilities and for projects to help stimulate the local economy such as the location of a U.S. Bureau of Mines laboratory in Bartlesville.
As the years passed, the Bartlesville club and its members became active in virtually every effort to improve the quality of education and enhance opportunities for youth. The club’s support of youth and education dates back to 1920, when the club helped pass a one-third salary increase for Bartlesville teachers.
Today, the club continues to recognize outstanding scholars by hosting two high school students and two college students each month. The students attend club meetings and provide updates about their school experiences and career goals. At the end of each school year, the club awards a scholarship to one of the outstanding high school students.