News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Presentation: Civility Part 3

Discussion Facilitator Sam Miglarese

Discussion Facilitator Carver Weaver

Monday’s program departed from our normal routine of a program delivered by a guest or sometimes one of our own members. As the third and final program in a series on Civility, we shifted gears and each of the tables was given an index card and asked to discuss one of the elements of the 4 Way Test and record any conclusions that would be assembled and turned into some sort of report that might be shared with other clubs or the larger Rotary family.

Coordinator of Civility Series: Dallas Stallings

All this was organized by Dallas Stallings who credited Doug Butler with bugging him with the idea. This final chapter was handled by Sam Miglarese and Carver Weaver. We had a reading list that included two articles from the May copy of The Rotarian and two excellent programs that proceeded it.

So, there was a lot of activity in the room and I can’t report what happened at every table. At the one I happened to be at there were only 4 of us, all male, all grey beards and perhaps a little world weary. Our element was “Is it the TRUTH.” One of us was a life-long Republican and one a life-long Democrat (me.) We managed to navigate a discussion about whether people with a marketing background should be given some latitude around the truth. This was in reference to you know who, but as a long-time marketer myself, I could have taken strong issue with that. However, the discussion remained civil, I’m happy to say. [Read more…]

Night with the Stars

Paul Harris Fellows: General Ralph Haynes and Matt Kopac

L to R: General Ralph Haynes, Kay Gresham, Matt Kopac


Matt Kopac got his start with Rotary years ago as a cultural Ambassadorial Scholar to El Salvador and has experienced the power of global Rotary fellowship in at least five countries.  He and his wife Sarah came to Durham 10 years ago, he joined our Rotary Club almost immediately thereafter and became a Paul Harris Fellow.
Matt is the Sustainable Business & Innovation Manager for Burts Bees.  He also co-founded the Durham Living Wage Project, chairs the Durham Environmental Affairs Board and still finds time to come to Rotary.
He said by giving to the Rotary Foundation, he knows the money is well spent both by making an impact around the world and when part of that money comes back to our club from the Foundation by way of grants three years later to fund projects locally.
And before I give him his PHF+2, I noticed he’s wearing that nice KOPAC campaign button today, so for those of you who may not know, Matt is also running for a seat on the Durham Board of County Commissioners.  We are so very proud of our fellow Rotarians who step up and are always willing to do more for our community.
General Ralph Haynes retired from the US Army in 2004.  He became a Rotarian in Atlanta some 30 years ago and became a PHF.  He loves to and DOES travel internationally and owes part of that to his career in the army.  But a bigger part of his love for travel comes from the many friendships he has developed  through Rotary.
He just returned from three weeks in Europe where he and his wife, Patricia enjoyed seeing some of those fellow Rotarians who have become best friends.  He says not only is this organization one of enormous worldwide benefit for its participation in many programs such as polio, water, education, but it has been very successful in fostering international relations in the most peaceful way possible.  PHF+3.

Presentation: Civility with David & Christopher Gergen


David Gergen

Christopher Gergen

Civility in Government and Politics 

Monday’s program was a unique format with featured speakers father and son team David and Christopher Gergen sharing a virtual platform: Chris manned the lectern in Durham and David was beamed in via satellite from his home in Cambridge, Mass.  

Wishing to allow as much time as possible for the program, Dallas Stallings kept his speaker introductions brief. He commented that entrepreneur and educator Christopher was a likely candidate for burning out at a young age, as he is involved in so many high-energy initiatives, while noting that Chris’s father, David, was likely the driving force that taught his son to burn the candle at both ends.  

Political commentator and presidential advisor David Gergen was born in Durham, graduating from Durham High School in 1959 in the last segregated class there. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Yale, he returned to Durham where he interned in the office of North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford. There Mr. Gergen became deeply involved in civil rights concerns, most notably the Good Neighbor Council, which took him across the state “focusing on jobs, education, and basically keeping the peace (in the early 60’s) during a very tumultuous political period in the south,” he said.   [Read more…]

Paul Harris Fellows: Reginald Hodges, Roslyn Grace, Meg Solera

Pictured from L to R: Reginald Hodges, Roslyn Grace, Meg Solera


Reginald Hodges joined Rotary in 2012.  He retired as executive director of the Durham Literacy Center.  He’s been very active in Rotary serving on the Board under two Presidents and chairing the Sgt at Arms for two different years.
Reggie volunteers with the UMCA and is on the National Advisory Board of the Ackland Museum of UNC-Chapel Hill..
He and his wife met some 50 years ago while working in the Peace corp in West Africa where they lived for almost two decades.  Last year they gifted over 27 works of West African art to the Nasher Museum in Durham. PHF+2
Roslyn Grace joined Rotary in 2005 in DC then joined our club in 2013.  Ross retired from the International Medical Corp where she did everything from setting up and staffing new offices when needed to heading up HR.  She was actually a guest speaker at our Durham Club in 2006 before she every joined.
She currently serves on our Board of Directors, has been one of our most dedicated Salvation Army Bell ringers for the past consecutive 10 years and participates in almost every dinner, Centerfest, project and activity we have.  PHF+4.
Meg Solera joined Rotary in 2001 in California and became a member of our Durham Club in 2007.  Rotary was her way of emerging herself into a new town  and making friends in a place where she had just moved and knew no-one.
Her old club did a lot of volunteer and service work at that time whereas our club really didn’t.  When she suggested scholarship and progressive dinners, etc. everyone said, “Meg, that’s a great idea.  Whey don’t you head that up?”  So she was off and running.
She has been VP under two presidents, on the board. For two terms, chaired the scholarship and fellowship committees and been on the membership committee.  PHF+4

Program Report: Rotarian and former NC Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard on Civility in Public Discourse

As I was preparing to write this report, I did two things, the first I’m not proud of and the second I hope I can persuade everyone reading this to do.

First, I sent a snarky reply to a Facebook post of a former student of mine who is at the opposite end of the political scale from me.

There’s a lot of that kind of thing going on, I’m afraid…on the internet, on TV, in the newspapers and sometimes at the dinner table.

The second thing I did was read the speech that Justice Whichard delivered to us on Civility. Because there were so many people who requested copies of it, Executive Secretary Sharon distributed it to the entire Rotary mailing list with Justice Whichard’s permission. Even though it triggered my shame for being uncivil on Facebook, I have to say that this was one of the most moving and well prepared presentations I have heard in all my years as a Rotarian and it was made by a guy whose list of accomplishments have left him nothing further to prove.

Why was it so good and why does it deserve to be read? First, Justice Whichard is a great storyteller and examples he gave range from the tragic (Hamilton’s death at the hands of Burr) to the merely discourteous (Obama called a liar during a State-of-the-Union.) There were stories of reconciliation (Jefferson and Adams) and stories of the warm relationships of political opponents (Reagan and Tripp O’Neil.) He included stories from his own political history of opposition and reconciliation as well.

He invoked names from more recent North Carolina history to counter a growing trend of anti-intellectualism including Frank Graham, Bill Friday and Bill Aycock, to make the point that the Jeffersonian answer to objectionable speech is more and better speech, not repression of speech.

He also quotes the Czech dissident, statesman and writer, Vaclav Havel, to make the point that the fullest purpose of civil discourse is to educate ourselves as well as others.

Even my best effort can only make this report a pale reflection of the speech, so again I urge you to read it. If you’ve lost track of it, you can click here and get it.  I would also suggest reading the two articles from last May’s Rotarian Magazine, the first on Civility and the second on the Four Way Test. These were recommended by Dallas Stallings in his introduction to this series of programs during the previous meeting. Dallas also introduced Justice Whichard, although this was hardly needed.

This will be a hard act to follow but anyone who was skeptical about how good a program about civility could be, will be looking forward to next week’s program featuring Christopher and David Gergen and with Sam Miglarese wrapping it up on week three.

Submitted by Jay Zenner