Rotary International's president said Monday that the organization has benefited from adding some 7,000 women to its ranks since the Supreme Court ruled a year ago that it must drop its men-only requirement.
"(he Supreme Court) ruled that Rotary International has reached a point that it is large enough and significant enough it can no longer be treated as a private, intimate organization that decides who will be its members. In retrospect I have to agree with the U.S. Supreme Court," Charles C. Keller said in a press conference Monday at the Marriott Hotel.Keller, who was in Salt Lake City to present 38 of the group's Paul Harris Fellow Awards to Utah Rotarians, said gender barriers may be falling soon in Rotary Clubs outside the United States. A change in the international organization's rules will be proposed at a 1989 meeting in Singapore. If passed, the two-thirds of 23,000 Rotary Clubs that are chartered outside of the United States would have the option of admitting women. The rule would allow local culture and customs to dictate whether women could join.
Keller also reported that Rotary International has raised $220 million in its "Polio-Plus" campaign. That money along with Rotarian volunteer service will help the World Health Organization and UNICEF eradicate polio by the year 2000, Keller said.
"It is the largest project we have ever tackled. It is the first time we have had all of our members participate in a single service project," Keller said.
Keller also announced that a Murray dentist, Dr. Ralph B. Montgomery, will receive a $270,000 grant from the Rotary Foundation to provide dental care to the isolated area of Palawan in the Philippines.