The 1980s and ’90s: A Changing Rotary
With an aging membership and changing society, Rotary began to slowly, and sometimes unwillingly, mirror the times. The late 1980s brought about significant change to the organization on both a local and national scale, including international involvement and the inclusion of women in Rotary.
PolioPlus logo [click to enlarge]
In 1985, Rotary International launched the PolioPlus project, a worldwide effort to eradicate polio. The Logan club took its commitment in the international endeavor seriously, and the group contributed in excess of $20,000, with each Rotarian donating over $200 to the cause by 1987. Today, the PolioPlus project has exterminated polio in nearly every country, with just Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan remaining. PolioPlus provides an example of Rotary’s willingness to embrace globalization and implement large-scale projects to make the world a better place.
Women Join Rotary
A story highlighting Jeri Garner and Sara Sinclair (excerpt from the 75th anniversary history), 1994 [click to enlarge]
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives, Manuscript Collection 234, Box 1, Folder 13, Item 2, Page 39.)
Shortly after the inauguration of PolioPlus, Rotary experienced another significant change. A Supreme Court ruling challenged the organization to address its legacy of excluding female members. Rotary is and was a product of its time, and at the time of its formation, business organizations discouraged women from participating. As Logan member Jim Jarvis observed, “And in those days, the women didn’t work like they do now and there is a place for them in Rotary now because they are holding jobs just like men are.” In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled 7-to-0 in Board of Directors, Rotary International v. Rotary Club of Duarte, that Rotary International’s policy of excluding women on the grounds of the First Amendment was unconstitutional.
The decision to allow women did not sit well in all clubs. Logan Rotarians report that the change ruffled the feathers of the “Old Guard.” Several unnamed Rotarians became very upset and left the organization over the verdict. In response to the Supreme Court ruling, the Logan Rotator (Logan Rotary’s newsletter) published the following, “Don’t start proposing ladies for membership just yet. There are 30 states besides California with similar laws but with any luck, Utah may not be among them and we won’t be covered by the Supreme Court decision unless and until there is a similar law in Utah.” However, Logan Rotary accepted the decision when it became official Rotary policy at the 1987 Munich Convention. Two years later, the local club’s first women members—Jeri Garner and Sara Sinclair—joined Logan Rotary.
Several of the first women members described the club’s transition as bumpy, but brief. Rotarian Marilynne Glatfelter, who joined in 1991 to promote her counseling practice, described the female members often sitting together because they did not know many other Rotarians. Marilynne recalls the occasional male member saying, “So you joined Rotary to sit and talk with each other huh? A whole table full of women.” She responded by pointing out the tables of only men sitting and talking with each other. Rotarian Darlene Jensen, wanting to represent the USU-Goldenwest Credit Union in Rotary, also shared a similar experience. Darlene remembers inquiring about membership in the late 1990s, and the voice on the line told her Rotary only accepted CEOs. However, she reports after joining Rotary in 2007, the organization offered nothing but friendship. Peggy Tueller, joining Rotary in 1996 as the Ellen Eccles Theater Director, reflected that she never felt unwelcome, and stated, “They’ve all come around . . . They are happy to have women in the club.” So while the Supreme Court decision changed the status quo, Rotarians quickly adjusted and now agree that gender diversity makes the club a better place for everybody.
1955 Logan Rotary Club election ballot. [click to enlarge]
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives, Manuscript Collection 234, Box 8, Scrapbook 3, Page 71.)
Logan Rotary also adopted a new leadership selection policy in 1996–1997. Logan Rotarian Ron Monson reports that President Russ Warren believed open elections, which created winners and losers, were unhealthy for the club. He instituted a change where the past five presidents nominate qualified members for leadership positions such as president, president-elect, and secretary. The club membership then affirms the nominees. This system works to engage those looking to serve and helps prepare members for adopting leadership roles in the future. Nominated members also attend special Rotary trainings throughout the Rotary District to help them with leadership responsibilities. These leadership trainings came in handy when Logan Rotarian and District Governor at the time, Fred Berthrong, rushed to plan the 2007 RI convention in Salt Lake City after New Orleans was unable to host due to Hurricane Katrina. Through this system, Logan Rotary successfully ensures a steady stream of new leaders composed of both men and women from a variety of age groups.
 Susan Hanf and Arnold R. Grahl, “Historic Moments: PolioPlus turns 30,” Rotary, 2015, https://www.rotary.org/en/historic-moments-polioplus-turns-30
 “On the 75th Anniversary of Logan Rotary,” 17-37.
 Hanf and Grahl.
 Jim Jarvis interview.
 Board of Directors, Rotary International v. Rotary Club of Duarte, 481, 86 (U.S. 1987), https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/481/537.
 Logan Rotary Club, Rotator, club newsletter, May 4, 1987, Merrill-Cazier Library SCA, book collection 979.206 R74.
 Glatfelter interview.
 Darlene Jensen, interview by Cody Patton, April 16, 2018, Utah State University Credit Union; LRCP, Box 1, Folder 14.
 Ron Monson, interview by Cody Patton and Tammy Proctor, April 16, 2018, Cache Valley Bank; LRCP, Box 1, Folder 14 (hereafter referred to as Monson Interview).
 Peggy Tueller, interview by Cody Patton and Tammy Proctor, April 23, 2018, Tueller Home; LRCP, Box 1, Folder 14.