Auburn Rotary Club History

The Auburn Rotary Club was formally accepted by Rotary International on May 28, 1927, following formal action taken on May 12 to apply for a charter. At the time, Rotary International consisted of 2,665 clubs representing 40 countries. Professor James Thompson of the University of Alabama, a past Rotary district governor and member of the Tuscaloosa Rotary Club, was commissioned to present the charter to the club.

The charter was formally presented to Dr. B. B. Ross, the director of the new club, at a special occasion held on July 7, 1927, at Auburn University's Smith Hall. Rotarians from clubs in Opelika, LaGrange, Columbus, Eufaula and West Point, as well as the officers from the Auburn Lions Club were all in attendance.

While the Auburn Rotary Club formally began in 1927, its story actually began in 1921 with the formation of the Auburn Villagers Club. The Villagers Club was organized by Bishop W. G. McDowell, and was composed by the president and a number of deans and other faculty members of Alabama Polytechnic Institute - as well as leading business and professional men of the city. During its six years of existence, the club worked jointly with the Lions Club to improve streets, telephone services, and education. They also worked to organize the Auburn Chamber of Commerce.

On March 27, 1927, the Montgomery Advertiser reported on a brilliant celebration for St. Patrick's Day attended by 150 people, including club members, wives and guests in the Smith Hall banquet room. Even this close to the Villagers Club joining Rotary, the newspaper article notes that the club had been invited to join various national and international organizations, but the members had decided to retain its local character; it was felt that this perhaps made it unique in America.

Another newspaper article dated May 28, 1927, reports that on March 29, members of the Villagers Club met with L. E. Brubaker, governor of District 26 of Rotary International. Following this meeting, C. R. Summers of the Opelika Rotary Club was appointed to make a survey of the Auburn situation. This resulted in Professor C. A. Baughman, secretary of the Villagers Club, being appointed the organizing chairman by Harry H. Rogers of Rotary International in early May 1927. Once the formal application was sent to the Opelika Rotary Club, the formation of the Auburn Rotary Club became a reality.

Some of the original committes for the Auburn Rotary Club included both Boys Work and Girl Scouts, Crippled Children, Business Methods, Public Schools, Civics, Fire, Rural-Urban, Community Service, and other Rotary-related committees. We still have numerous committes that work to better our many facets of life in the Auburn area.

See past Presidents and District Governors here.

Founding Members

  • R. Dimmitt (President; Dean of students at Alabama Polytechnic Institute)
  • Wilbur Hutsell (Vice President)
  • R. C. Brown (Vice President)
  • Dr. Frank Parker (Treasurer)
  • Fred Allison
  • Dr. Spright Dowell
  • J. F. Dugtar
  • Rev. J. R. Edwards
  • M. T. Fullan
  • M. J. Funchess
  • C. L. Hare
  • Rev. A. B. Hay
  • J. T. Hudson
  • H. A. Jolly
  • C. A. Jones
  • H. D. Jones
  • Zebulon Judd
  • J. T. Kennedy
  • Felton Little
  • W. L. Long
  • J. S. McAdory
  • Rev. W. H. McNeal
  • H. M. Martin
  • W.D. Martin
  • D. B. Morey
  • J. M. Robinson
  • B. B Ross
  • W. W. Ross
  • J. R. Rutland
  • B. L. Shi
  • Hugh Tamplin
  • A. L. Thomas
  • S. L. Toomer
  • C. S. Yarbrough

Rotary Community Grants

Since 2013, the Auburn Rotary Club has awarded over $260,000 in grants back to the community.

Find out about that program.

The Auburn, Alabama Rotary Club meets each Wednesday at noon in the banquet room of the Saugahatchee Country Club:

3800 Bent Creek Rd
Opelika, AL 36804
Phone: 334-749-3441

Committed to Humanitarian Service, High Ethical Standars in All Vocations, Peace & Goodwill