A Brief History of the Rotary Club of Cornwall

The Rotary Club of Cornwall officially received its Charter from Rotary International on December 13, 1950. The Rotary Club of Massena, NY which sponsored our Club, planned the charter night banquet at the Cornwall Armoury. More than four hundred Rotarians from Ontario, Quebec, and Northern New York State attended the banquet. It was a particularly auspicious occasion given the fact Rotary International President, Arthur Lagueux from Quebec City attended, which marked one of the few charter night banquets at which the international president was in attendance. Rotary had 7,191 Clubs in eighty-three countries and had a total membership of 383,000 men. This number has now grown to approximately 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem solvers in over 46,000 Clubs located in about two hundred countries.
Rotary International opened membership to women on January 01, 1989. Karen Boulerice was the first woman to join the Rotary Club of Cornwall in July 1989. Incoming Club President, John Warner said that Rotary recognized the vital role women were playing as they moved into positions of leadership in both business and public life. Karen Boulerice served as Club President during the 1999-2000 Rotary year.
Chartered in April 1989, and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cornwall, the Rotary Club of Cornwall-Sunrise had three founding women, thus becoming the first Club in District 7040 chartered with more than one woman. They were May Brown, Susan Carter, and Bette Miller, who later became the first woman to hold the office of District Governor in D7040.
One of the Club’s early initiatives was raising funds through a raffle for a sewing machine. The money was to buy a refrigerator for the Hotel Dieu Hospital to store vaccines. The raffle was a resounding success, raising $300 for the project, which was a lot at the time (around 1954). Since then, the members of the Club have been serving the local community and the greater world through various humanitarian, educational, service, and community projects. The Club continues to meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community and to provide opportunities for youth.

Our Ongoing Commitment

Rotary members have not only been present for major events in history — we’ve also been a part of them. Three key traits have remained strong throughout our history:

We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today, members in nearly every country work to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.

We persevere in tough times. During World War II, Rotary clubs in Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally, and after the war, Rotary members came together to rebuild their clubs and their countries. During World War II, Rotary informed and educated members about the formation of the United Nations and the importance of planning for peace. Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status offered to a nongovernmental organization by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, which oversees many specialized UN agencies. 

We’re committed to service, and we’re not afraid to dream big and set bold goals. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. Today, polio remains endemic in only three countries — down from 125 in 1988.

Rotary will continue to grow and help others around the world.