Evelyn Whelton & Peter Pelletier
2018 Paul Harris Recipient Jim Terry


At the International Assembly in 1979, then-RI President-elect James Bomar challenged each Rotary club to make one non-Rotarian a Paul Harris Fellow. The Rotary Club of Pikesville, Maryland responded by making a donation in the name of Mother Teresa in 1980.


Every year for the past the past many years, the Rotary Club of North Conway has made 2 Non-Rotarians in the Mount Washington area Paul Harris Fellows.  We ask our club members to nominate individuals in the Valley who:


1.  Have gone above and beyond in their efforts to make our community a better place to live

2.  And have made a significant and positive impact in the lives of people.


Many other notable figures have been named as Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, Jonas Salk and Pearl Bailey. 

Who was Paul Harris?

In the fall of 1900, Paul P. Harris met fellow attorney Bob Frank for dinner on the north side of Chicago. They walked around the area, stopping at shops along the way. Harris was impressed that Frank was friendly with many of the shopkeepers.


Harris had not seen this kind of camaraderie among businessmen since moving to Chicago in 1896. He wondered if there was a way to channel it because it reminded him of growing up in Wallingford, Vermont. Harris eventually persuaded local businessmen to join him in a club for community and fellowship. His vision laid the foundation for Rotary.


After setting up his law practice in Chicago, Harris gathered several business associates to discuss the idea of forming an organization for local professionals. On February 23, 1905 Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey gathered at Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago. This was the first Rotary club meeting.


In February 1907, Harris was elected the third president of the Rotary Club of Chicago, a position he held until the fall of 1908. Toward the end of his club presidency, Harris worked to expand Rotary beyond Chicago and, by 1910, Rotary had expanded to several other major U.S. cities.


Harris recognized the need to form an executive board of directors and a national association. In August, 1910, Rotarians held their first national convention in Chicago, where the 16 existing clubs unified as the National Association of Rotary Clubs. The new association unanimously elected Harris as its president.

2018 Paul Harris Recipient Mark Butterfield
Nanci Hayes & Peter Pelletier