News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Paul Harris Fellows: Ken Lundstrom, Susan Miller, Honorable Willis Whichard

L to R, Ken Lundstrom, Susan Miller, Honorable Willis Whichard

Ken Lundstrom has been a member of our club since 1995. He has been the Secretary of the club under four Presidents, serving on and chairing the Rotary Foundation for our club for years, chairing our Scholarship committee, serving on the Board, ringing the bell for The Salvation Army, working at many volunteer luncheons, Million Meals projects, Fill the Bus and Habitat for Humanity builds. It’s easy to see why he as a recipient of the Rotarian of the Year award. Ken has been given his Paul Harris Fellow +6.

Susan Miller joined our club in 2012. She is a CPA and partner with DMJ & Co in Durham. Susan is our Club’s treasurer and for those of you who don’t know it, that is a job in and of itself. She is a Paul Harris Society member which means she has committed to give $1,000 a year to Rotary International. We are happy to present Susan with her Paul Harris Fellow +7.

The Honorable Willis Whichard has been honored with a PHF award from a fellow Rotarian. The individual stated, “you make us better just by being in our presence. We could talk about your awards and honors, your education and career, but what we see in you every Monday is the way you live your life and exemplify playing out the Rotary Four Way Test. Congratulations and thank you for being in this club for the past ten years”.

Program Report: The Carolina Theatre -Rebecca Newton

The last Rotary speaker to close out February was a rather fitting one.

After being introduced by Rotarian Rory Gillis, The Carolina Theater CEO and President since 2017, Rebecca Newton, shared with members what the historic entertainment venue has been up to recently.

A connoisseur of entertainment, Newton got her start with the Hayti Heritage Center in 1980 and after a stint there, worked in the “internet world” before transitioning over to the Carolina Theater. The theater turned 94-years-old in February.

Since 2018, the theater has screened nearly 500 films and sold 50,000 tickets which reflects the solid foundation it is on.

But in addition to screenings, Newton encouraged club members to experience some of the historical exhibits the theater is hosting as part of its arts outreach. These include an exhibit in the main lobby entitled A Century Downtown that focuses on artists and films that have been at the Carolina through the years as well as how the venue and downtown Durham have changed over time. Another exhibit Newton highlighted is the Confronting Change exhibit being hosted on the second balcony level and spotlights the 1960s desegregation of the Carolina and the community.

“Community engagement, like the exhibits,” Newton said, “is what makes the Carolina such a treasure.”  Other ways the Carolina interacts with the community include the RETRO series, one of the largest repertory film programs in the nation, in which classic silver screen films and rare cult classics are screened and take attendees back in time with researched information about the movies and how they resonate in popular culture.

“It’s one of the biggest things we do at the Carolina,” Newton said about the RETRO Film Series which has introduced an entirely new generation of moviegoers to classics.

Other ways the theater is reaching out to the community includes hosting a church on Sundays, acting as a community gathering space, hosting a family Saturday series and hosting school visits.

Ellen Stone, senior director of development at the Carolina, joined Newton and spoke on how the theater has hosted school programs for 23 years through arts education, arts integration and arts exposure.

The school programs tie school curriculum and performance to make learning more interesting.  The theater recently had an event for displaced residents at McDougald that saw so many attendees that it had to be moved to a bigger theater to seat everyone.

“We want youth to appreciate and experience the arts,” Stone said. “It’s impactful and fun to watch.”  While Arts Discovery is free to attendees, it costs the theater $108,000 and is often underwritten by community partners to help pay.

The events help the theater reach more than 12,000 students each year over the past few years with 15,000 youth being welcomed into the theater’s education and community engagement programming since 2018.

Newton has spent the last 6 months working on the Carolina’s strategic plan leading up to its centennial in February 2026.

With more tickets being sold in the first half of this fiscal year than all of last year, the Carolina Theater is well situated heading into its second century.

Submitted by Carlton Koonce

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…]

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