The name Rotary was chosen to reflect the custom, in the early days of the first Rotary Club in Chicago, of rotating the site of club meetings among the members' places of business. This rotation, an integral part of the founder's original concept, was designed to acquaint members with one another's vocations and to promote business, but the club's rapid growth soon made the custom impractical.
The enthusiasm with which Rotarians embraced the ideal of service is evidenced by Rotary's principal motto,
The roots of both of these adages, adopted as official mottos at the 1950 RI Convention, can be traced back to the first decade of Rotary's existence, when "He profits most who serves his fellows best and Service not self were both put forth as slogans. In 1989, the RI Council on Legislation designated "Service above Self" as the principal motto.!
The Four Way Test
One of the most widely printed and quoted 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 a company that 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 is credited to this simple philosophy.
Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International in 1954-55. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. Here it is:
"Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the Truth?
2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?"
" Service above Self" and its other offical precept "He profits most Who Serves Best"
The world's first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, was formed on 23 February 1905 by Paul P. Harris. The Rotary name derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices.