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Rotary’s Motto: “Service Above Self”

The Story of the “Four – Way Test”

One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is The Rotary “4-Way Test.”  It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of the Chicago-based Club Aluminum Company, which was facing bankruptcy.  Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties.  He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives.  The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company was credited to this simple philosophy.

Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International during 1954-55.

The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than 100 languages and published in thousands of ways.  The message should be known and followed by all Rotarians.

“Of the things we think, say or do:

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?


Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

Object of Rotary

The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  • First: The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • Second: High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation to serve society;
  • Third: The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life;
  • Fourth: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

From the By-Laws: Article VI Membership

Section 1 – General Qualifications.
This club shall be composed of adult persons of good character and good business and professional reputation.

Section 2 – Kinds.
This club shall have two kinds of membership, namely: active and honorary.

[The 2001 Council on Legislation adopted enactment 01-148 which eliminated types of membership (senior active, past service and additional active) and revised the classification principle. However, no one who was a member of a Rotary club as of 1 July 2001 shall lose membership by reason of the new provisions. All such members will be considered active members.]

Section 3 – Transferring or Former Rotarian.
A member may propose to active membership a transferring member or former member of a club, if the proposed member is terminating or has terminated such membership in the former club due to no longer being engaged in the formerly assigned classification of business or profession within the locality of the former club or the surrounding area. The transferring or former member of a club being proposed to active membership under this section may also be proposed by the former club.

Section 4 – Dual Membership Prohibited.
No person shall simultaneously hold active membership in this and another Rotary club. No person shall simultaneously be a member and an honorary member in this club. No person shall simultaneously hold active membership in this club and membership in a Rotaract club.

Section 5 – Honorary Membership.

(a) Eligibility for Honorary Membership. Persons who have distinguished themselves by meritorious service in the furtherance of Rotary ideals may be elected to honorary membership in this club. The term of such membership shall be as determined by the board. Persons may hold honorary membership in more than one club.
(b) Rights and Privileges. Honorary members shall be exempt from the payment of admission fees and dues, shall have no vote and shall not be eligible to hold any office in this club. Such members shall not hold classifications, but shall be entitled to attend all meetings and enjoy all the other privileges of this club. No honorary member of this club is entitled to any rights and privileges in any other club, except for the right to visit other clubs without being the guest of a Rotarian.

Section 6 – Holders of Public Office.
Persons elected or appointed to public office for a specified time shall not be eligible to active membership in this club under the classification of such office. This restriction shall not apply to persons holding positions or offices in schools, colleges or other institutions of learning or to persons who are elected or appointed to the judiciary. Members who are elected or appointed to public office for a specified period may continue as such members in their existing classifications during the period in which they hold such office.

Section 7 – Rotary International Employment.
This club may retain in its membership any member employed by RI.


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