The origins of Paul Harris Fellow
The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.
Rotary established the recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships.
The first Paul Harris Fellows included past RI Director Allison G. Brush, who served during the 1937-38 Rotary year, and longtime RI Treasurer Rufus F. Chapin, both for donations made in 1946. Mrs. Adan Vargas was the first woman to receive the recognition, for a gift made in 1953. Mrs. Harry L. Jones was the second, and one of only five people recognised for contributions actually made in that inaugural year.
Early Paul Harris Fellows received a certificate of recognition. In 1969, the Foundation unveiled the first Paul Harris Fellow medallion at the Rotary Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Japanese metal artist Fiju Tsuda created the piece under the direction of former Foundation Trustee Kyozo Yuasa. Today, Paul Harris Fellows receive a certificate and pin. They are also eligible to buy a Paul Harris Fellow medallion.
Rotarians have a tradition of supporting the Foundation by honouring others. Ida LeTulle Taylor became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1978 when her husband, Vann Taylor, who was serving as a district governor, made a donation in her name in honour of their 34th wedding anniversary. The gift also made her the 25,000th Paul Harris Fellow.
The first Paul Harris Fellow medallion, left, and a later version. Various lapel and neck ribbons were used with this medallion throughout the years.
Our club, Rotary Cluj Napoca Cetatuie, received a number of 32 Paul Harris recognitions till now, from which 22 of them are individual and we have 3 members who received more than 1 recognition. Our colleague Viorel Bunea received a number of 6 Paul Harris recognition, for his continuous involvement in Rotary projects from the district, Rotary 2241.