This month in Rotary -- Rotaract celebrates its anniversary
In March 1968, the Rotaract Club of University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA, planted a tree on its campus to commemorate receiving the first Rotaract charter. Rotary Images
In the late 1960s, noting the success of the recently formed Interact
program, the RI Board realized the need for a program of service, activity, and fellowship for young adults no longer of Interact age (14-18). The name Rotaract
(Rotary in Action) was selected to show the program's close affiliation with both Rotary and Interact clubs.
RI President Luther Hodges inaugurated Rotaract in 1968, with the Rotaract Club of University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA, being the first club. The club received its charter on 13 March and had 21 members.
Within a day of the certification of the Rotaract Club of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the Rotaract Club of the University of La Salle was chartered in Tacubaya, Mexico. The Rotaract clubs of Florence, Italy; Gaston College and Sylva, both in North Carolina; and Secunderabad, India, were all certified in the following weeks. Since the 1950s, many Rotary clubs had been starting unofficial clubs for young adults, so this fueled Rotaract’s rapid growth in its first few years. Rotaract grew from 21 clubs in 1967-68 to 289 clubs a year later. There are now 7,000 Rotaract clubs in 163 countries and geographic areas.
Rotaract clubs were originally open to young men and women ages 17-24. Since 1991, young adults ages 18-30 have been welcomed.
Learn more about World Rotaract Week , observed this year 10-16 March. Contact Rotary history and archives for more historical information about Rotary.
In the section below, share your club’s plans for World Rotaract Week and Rotaract’s 40th anniversary.