The world’s first service club, The Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, was formed on February 23, 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The name “Rotary” came from the early practice of rotating meetings among members’ offices.
Rotary’s popularity spread throughout the United States in the decade that followed. Clubs were chartered from San Francisco to New York. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been formed on six continents, and the organization adopted the name Rotary International a year later. Today Rotary has 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide.
As Rotary grew, its mission expanded beyond serving the professional and social interests of club members. “Rotarians” began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The organization’s dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its principal motto, “Service Above Self.”
The 4-Way Test
From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor. This 24-word test for employees became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers.
Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways.
Of the things we think, say and do, we ask the following 4 questions:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”