Columbia’s Capital Rotary began its 2020-2021 year July 1 by inducting a new president, saluting the Rotarian of the Year and announcing Paul Harris Fellow honors in a biweekly Zoom session. Capital’s new president is Ben Carlton (in photo), a member since 2015, who practices corporate law with the Columbia firm of Richardson, Plowden & Robinson. Carlton is a graduate of North Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina’s Law School. He was a club director and secretary before serving as president-elect in the past year. Earning Rotarian of the Year honors for the second time was Neda Beal (left in photo below with Sophia Bertrand of the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club). Beal – cited in 2016 for her work with several projects – was recognized anew for serving as liaison to the student group. Rotaract clubs are for adults ages 18-30 interested in community service, in developing leadership and professional skills, and who enjoy networking and social activities. USC Rotaract formed in 2010-2011; Capital Rotary became its host in 2018-2019. New Rotary Foundation donor honors went to Jack Williamson, Philip Flynn and Pete Pillow – all named Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Two givers (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with an additional gift in the same amount). The Foundation is Rotary International’s charitable arm to support world understanding and peace programs. Williamson, a former sergeant at arms, joined Capital Rotary in 2008, as did Flynn, a past president and current director. Pillow joined in 2006 and was Rotarian of the Year in 2018. The club is holding remote meetings currently in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The head of the SC Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has been inducted into Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club. Kitty Sutton – executive director of the legal nonprofit since 2013 – joined May 20 during the club’s second Zoom meeting. Remote sessions are being held every two weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Sutton is a Columbia native with both English and law degrees from the University of South Carolina, plus a Masters in English from the University of South Alabama in Mobile. She’s worked at law firms in Mobile, Charleston and Columbia. She has been an adjunct professor at USC, the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College. Sutton is on the board of Justice 360, a group involved with juvenile justice and capital punishment issues. She’s also been a board member for Heathwood Hall Episcopal School and for Columbia’s Court Appointed Special Advocates, Communities in Schools and Carolina Ballet.
Capital Rotary’s Philip Flynn (at right in photo) presents a new lapel pin to Dr. Tommy Gibbons, recognizing him as a Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Five contributor to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable fund to support programs for world understanding and peace. Gibbons has made an initial $1,000 donation to the fund, followed by five additional gifts of $1,000 each. Gibbons served as Capital Rotary president in 2016-2017. Flynn, the club’s immediate past president, is chairman of Foundation giving and international service during this year. Paul Harris Fellow honors are named for the Chicago attorney who founded Rotary International in 1905.
Capital Rotary president Abby Naas (left in photo) recognized Philip Flynn and Katherine Anderson on March 4 for their continuing support of The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable arm that funds programs for world understanding and peace. Flynn was named a Paul Harris Fellow plus-one donor, representing an initial $1,000 donation, plus another of $1,000; Anderson is a plus-two Fellow with an initial $1,000 donation followed by two more for $1,000 each. Flynn is Capital Rotary’s immediate past president. Anderson has been a club member since March 2009.
A reception (in photo) recently launched a new mentorship program being established by Columbia’s Rotary clubs and students in the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club. The goal is helping Rotaractors find success in their fields of study, professional development and life after graduation. Mentors and students will be matched based on profession and the student’s major and area of interest. A student may have up to two mentors and will participate in activities such as career and course guidance, resume review, local industry networking events, and exploring internship opportunities. USC Rotaract is open to young adults interested in community service, leadership and social activities. Capital Rotary became the student group’s lead sponsor in July 2019. The local Vista Night and Main Street Rotary clubs are co-sponsors.
Capital Rotarian Le Frye (left in photo) was recognized as a new Paul Harris Fellow by club president Abby Naas at the Feb. 26 meeting. The honor – named for the Chicago attorney who founded Rotary International in 1905 – acknowledges individuals who contribute $1,000 to the humanitarian organization’s charitable foundation in support of programs for world understanding and peace. A South Carolina native, Frye holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina. She has nearly 20 years of experience in planning, managing, and executing various aspects of political and advocacy campaigns, working with elected officials both in the SC State House as well as Congress. Frye joined Capital Rotary in February of 2019.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club has added two new members – an exercise trainer and a local school district director. Shown after their induction are (from left) Barbara Gelberd with sponsor Ann Elliott and (from right) Sandy Brossard with sponsor Ione Cockrell. Gelberd is a former healthcare executive, consultant and project manager who now owns The Movement Studio, a Five Points gym and physical fitness center. She’s licensed to teach the Gyrotonic exercise method that incorporates movement principles from yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming and t’ai chi. A cum laude Furman University graduate, Gelberd has master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Her past community activities include volunteering with Family and Children’s Services, United Way of the Midlands, South Carolina Contemporary Dance Company and the Project Management Institute’s Midlands Chapter. Brossard is Richland School District One’s Chief of Teaching and Learning, with an educational specialist degree from the University of South Carolina and a doctorate from Capella University. She previously worked in both the Berkeley County and Charleston County school districts, was an associate superintendent in Lexington School District Four, a Southern Regional Education Board consultant and president/CEO of Educational Services and Policies, Inc. A Paul Harris Fellow, she’s also been a member of Lake Murray-Irmo Rotary.
The president and executive director of the S.C. Commission on Higher Education is Capital Rotary’s newest member. Rusty Monhollon (at left in photo with sponsor Bryan Goodyear) moved from Missouri to the Palmetto State in 2019. He previously served as assistant commissioner for academic affairs in Missouri’s Department of Higher Education. A native of Topeka, Monhollon taught U.S. history at Washburn University there and at the University of Kansas. He also taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia, at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Friends University in Wichita and Hood College in Frederick, MD. He was a summa cum laude Washburn graduate and earned his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Kansas. In addition to service on a number of academic boards, committees, commissions and organizations, Monhollon has been a Scout leader, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and a member of Missouri’s Columbia South Rotary Club. He was a welder/machinist before attending college.
The EarlyAct Club at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Columbia had an active holiday season and is planning projects in January and February, too. For details, see this recent posting on the Rotary District 7770 website. The club was established by Rotary clubs in the Columbia area earlier this school year. EarlyAct is a service organization for elementary students ages 5 to 13. It develops character and leadership skills closely linked to the ideals of Rotary International.
Local clubs are the “heartbeat” of Rotary International, but need training to grow stronger and more effectively serve their communities. That’s the message Capital Rotarians heard Nov. 20 from guest speaker Tom Ledbetter (shown with Capital member Neda Beal), head of District 7770’s Rotary Leadership Institute programs. The institute is a learning experience consisting of separate sessions in three parts: (1) exploring Rotary’s roots, engaging members and creating service projects; (2) strategic planning, team building and attracting members; and (3) public relations, effective leadership strategies and club communications. Developing leaders is key for service clubs to get and retain younger members. Ledbetter said District 7770’s Rotarians average 58 years old. “Aging out” impacts a club’s ability to conduct events and projects that advance the goal of “service above self.” Noting that “it’s not your father’s Rotary anymore,” Ledbetter said persons ages 25-45 must be engaged in worthwhile activities before they’re willing to make a commitment. He believes Leadership Institute training would benefit every new Rotarian in his or her first two years of membership. Ledbetter is a charter member and past president of the West Metro-West Columbia club and is associate vice provost with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Educational Support at Midlands Technical College.