4 Things Every Rotarian Should Know



In 1976, the Rotary International Board of Directors adopted the following definition of the fundamental aspects of the organization.

“Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons, united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”

Those 31 words are the best reply whenever someone says “Rotary is just a social club for rich people.”


From the earliest days of Rotary, a wheel of some sort has always figured prominently as a logo, with the first one being drawn by Chicago Rotarian Montague Bear. That original design was said to signify “Civilization and Movement.” But different clubs had different versions of the wheel, so in 1922, it was decided that all Rotary Clubs should adopt a single design. The following year, the present gear wheel, with 24 cogs, six spokes, and a central keyway, was adopted as the official Rotary International Emblem – a fitting modern interpretation of Bear’s original vision.


The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

• FIRST. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
• SECOND. High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
• THIRD. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
• FOURTH. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The key phrase here is “ideal of service.” This reminds all Rotarians to adopt an attitude of being a thoughtful and helpful person in all of one’s endeavors.


Perhaps the most widely recognizable statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary “4-Way Test.”

It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of the Chicago based Club Aluminum Company, which was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives.
The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company was credited to this simple philosophy.

Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International during 1954-55. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than 100 languages and published in thousands of ways. The message should be known and followed by all Rotarians.

“Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

Do you adhere to the 4-Way Test in your daily life?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *