President Howard called the last meeting of the Rotary year to order around 12:40 PM.  After leading members and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance, President Howard also provided the Inspiration for the day, which was addressed to all present, but PE David Klaus in particular.  It was inspired by Mr. Seuss’s “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”

In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July Celebration, we sang “America the Beautiful,” accompanied by PE David Klaus on the piano. Secretary Jennifer Hara introduced our guests for the day:

-Rami Saad, cousin of Nadia Saad and a finance student at GWU

-Casey Mauldin, guest of Abe Helal

-Lisa Unzner, guest of Abe Helal

-Visiting Rotarian Gilda Furbert, from the Pembroke Rotary Club in Bermuda and her guests, Christina Harris and Kimberly Harris

-Dr. Joan Ehrlich- guest of Estela Landeros-Duguord

-Monica Smith- guest of PE David Klaus and new member applicant

-Mary Ann Riegelman, guest of Stefan Alber

-Dr. Roberto Albinagorta, Guest of Elena Tscherny

-Alex Tscherny, husband of Elena Tscherny

-Visiting Rotarian Shelton Williams and his guest, Kyle Gerron

-Visiting Rotarian Jean Ozonder, from the Paris Academies Club in Paris, France

-Visiting Rotarian Pamhidzai Bamu, from the Harare City Club in Harare, Zimbabwe

Sergeant at Arms Monica Boner announced the birthdays for the week:  Joel Alperstein (June 25), Steen Steenson (June 26), Paula Delo (June 29), PP Carl Gell (June 29) and PP Andy Cook (June 30).

President Howard had several announcements:

-There is NO meeting on July 4.  The next meeting will be a Club Assembly on July 11, which is also the Club’s 100th Anniversary (maybe some bubbly to celebrate?)

-We are in the process of ensuring that all credit card forms are current.  If you have a card on file, please make sure that the office has current information.  Forms are available at check in.  If you have questions, please call the office. 

-the ceremonial groundbreaking for our Club’s Centennial Project (Habitat For Humanity House) will be this Saturday, June 30 at 1 PM.  Details and a map to the site are on the website. 

-The don’t-miss event of the year will also be this Saturday, June 30, 6-9 PM at the Mexican Cultural Institute.  Bring your sombrero.  It will be a great party as we toast the outgoing administration and welcome the incoming!

-Gus Gallagher made a last-minute push for the RI Foundation fund drive.  He announced that donations will be matched by DG Claude Morissette and will also receive matching points from our Club.  (double match).  The cut-off for donations was Thursday, June 28. 

President Howard then reviewed some of the highlights from our Centennial Year.  Of particular note-

-Our Club brought in 30 new members during the year (with several more in the pipeline) as a result of a restructured Membership Program that used a 3 pronged approach- Development, Orientation and Retention.  The enthusiastic support of all those involved in Membership (which seemed to be most of the members in the room) resulted in a great deal of enthusiasm throughout the Club and a net increase in membership to date-the first time this has occurred in a number of years. 

-A revitalized Retention function, ably led by Monica Boner, with the Health and Welfare portion carried out by Josette Conell, which resulted in over 200 emails and letters to members during the year.

-The Club changed the way that our billing is carried out.  Due to this change and more attention to this important issue, our receivables decreased from $40,000 to $6,000 at year end.  Nice job everyone!

-The Centennial Committee, ably led by PE David Klaus, did an amazing job planning events to help the Club and its members celebrate our 100th anniversary.  This group received a hearty round of applause for their efforts.

-Fellowship events, chaired by Monica Boner, generated a surge in participation.  Starting off the year with a well received party- Mojitos with Max (Salas) and followed by a long list of events, President Howard referenced numerous events where Rotarians were able to enjoy fellowship, including those att a number of local watering holes and members houses.  The first Centennial Event of the season was at the Botanic Garden, which was a big hit and sold out. 

-The complete presentation is available to download here.

President Howard noted that he enjoyed his year and was honored to have been the Club’s 99th President during its 100th year.  He estimated that he’s received over 18,000 Rotary emails, 5,000 phone calls and eaten 50 cold lunches during his year as President.  While he didn’t offer to do it again, it does sound like he enjoyed it.  He was warmly recognized and thanked by the membership with an extended standing ovation. 

After thanking University club General Manager David Conroy and Catering Director Chris Colley for their  work in providing great food and a welcoming facility, President Howard moved on to the awards for 2011-2012.  Receiving Certificates of Recognition were: Ken Kimbrough for his ongoing willingness to help where ever he was needed, frequently with little notice; Alexander Kravetz, for organizing and coordinating a popular fellowship event- Movie Night; Peter Kennedy, for taking over the organization of the Fireside Chats midyear; Norm Coe and Stu Shalloway for their work on the Hospitality Committee; Lisa Cohen for diligently taking pictures at every meeting; Herb Brickson for his ongoing support of the Membership Orientation program, serving as resident historian and his stellar upholding of Rotary ideals; Kathy Ward, for her enthusiastic spirit and support of the Career Fair, Dictionary Project and as an active member of the Membership Committee.  Receiving personalized Rotary portfolios were: Bill Dent for his ongoing management of the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and the Gilsey Trees for the Capital Program; Peggy Garrett, as Co-Chair of the Walter Reed bingo program; John Jackson, Chair of the Grate Patrol Program; Alex Sharayera, Chair of Publicity and Social Media; Pat Kavanaugh for being the one man Classification Committee and for his legal counsel; Joan Bristol for her volunteer spirit, sage advice and work on the Career Fair; Jay Pugh for chairing the Finance Committee; Don Messer for his enthusiasm and passion for the Stanton Tutoring Project; Estela Landeros-Duguord for chairing the Future Vision Committee;  Ted Hamady and Balraj Gupta for Chairing the Hospitality Committee and making this important function work so smoothly every week; Clara Montanez, our one-woman membership dynamo (having sponsored FIVE new members this year!); Josette Conell for her terrific work on Health and Welfare; Mawe Takyi for his exceptional work on the Membership Committee and the Career Fair; Andy Cook, as our talented and gracious Ombudsman, his legal assistance and the occasional use of his meeting facilities;   Natalie Korytnyk Forrester for her thoughtful insights as a Board member, May Gwinn for her service to the Board and work on coordinating the Paris trip; PP Don Marx for his assistance (from afar) in ensuring continuity in leadership; Lisa-Marie Monsanto for her service as a Board member and her ongoing support of all things Rotary; Ed O’Brien  for his very productive first year as a Board member; Marlene Thorn for her ongoing support of her Board duties-even while called out of the country for an extended period; Larry Wang for his Board service and Chairmanship of the Orientation Program; Mark Wilson for his service to the Board, from many points around the Globe.  Recognized for their exceptional contributions during the year were: Nancy Riker for her enthusiasm and exceptionally organized efforts in Chairing the Dictionary Project and Career Fair; Wilhelmina Bratton for Chairing the Community Service Grants and her smooth implementation of the first $25,000 grant; Dick Pyle for his leadership skills and exceptional service to the Club as Chair of the Program Committee; Abe Helal, who assumed the Chair of the Membership Committee mid-year, for his enthusiasm, organization and follow through in leading this committee to its best results in years; Jennifer Hara for her outstanding dedication as Secretary and as the head of the Scholarships Committee; David Klaus for his outstanding work as Chair of the Centennial Committee and Shaun English for his exceptional commitment as Treasurer, Tutor, Co-Chair of the bingo program and Chair of the Blood Drive.  The highlight of the awards was presentation of the Rotarian of the Year Award.  President Howard referenced this person as one who has performed more jobs in Rotary than anyone else in the room, always supports the agenda of the Club and the President and serves as a great example of Rotary ideals.  Monica Boner received a well deserved standing ovation as her name was called. 

The Raffle was run by Gladys Antezana this week, who did a great job selling tickets.  The weekly pot of  $71 was won by Christa McClure.  While Christa had the right ticket, she didn’t pull the winning card.  The pot will be over $1,100 at the meeting on July 11 for new President David Klaus’ first meeting.  REMEMBER- no meeting next week.  Have a great Fourth of July!