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Service Above Self

The motto of Rotarians is "Service above Self". It reminds Rotarians to think of how they can help others instead of selfish thoughts. The motto originated when Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, asked Rotarian Frank Collins to address the participants of the second annual Rotary Convention. The year was 1911. Frank Collins, a fruit merchant from Minneapolis, in the impromptu speech, told how his club had used the phrase "Service, Not Self" as a motto and that it was fundamental to them as to what it meant to be a Rotarian. The speech and the motto struck a cord with all the Rotarians. It really did neatly sum up in three words what Rotary, at its core, was all about. The Convention participants took the motto back to their own clubs and soon it captured the imaginations of all Rotarians.

Over time the motto evolved to "Service Above Self". At the 1950 Rotary Convention, the motto was officially adopted. Frank Collins' simple idea remains as evocative today as it was nearly 100 years ago.
Interestingly, Frank Collins' Minneapolis Rotary Club was also one of the first clubs to have weekly luncheon meetings. They have become a fixture of most Rotary clubs the world over.