Club History written 1976


History (from records maintained by Rotarian Alec Hood)

The Las Cruces Rotary Club was founded on October 25, 1923, with 23 members.  The official Charter #1569 was presented to the club on February 27, 1924, by District Governor Allie Martin. 

On April 30, 1924, the club adopted its first major project which as to help increase the membership and support the operations of the Boy Scouts of America in the area.  Since that time, the club’s major projects have been youth oriented. 

In June, 1924, the club inaugurated a program to get eighth graders to go on to High School and to this day it hosts a student from each of the High Schools and the University at its weekly meetings. 

Over the years, the youth programs have been expanded to host several youth teams and groups and to participate in the International Student Exchange Program.  A project to sponsor at least one student each year at Boys’ State was started in 1953.  What was to become an annual Christmas Party for Crippled Children was held in 1957. 

Ladies’ nights have, with few exceptions, been held annually since February 5, 1925.  Programs for these festive occasions are put on by the members.  Another annual fellowship project is the club picnic which was started in 1940.  It has become a tradition that the newest members demonstrate their barbecuing expertise at this affair. 

The first District Conference hosted by the Las Cruces Club was in March, 1925.  Thirteen Rotary Clubs were represented.  The second conference was hosted in 1961 and we were proud to be the hosts in April, 1975, again. 

The firs club bulletin was called “El Rotoro” and was published in 1947.  Later, the name was changed to its current title of “Spokes and Cogs.”

Three district governors have been elected from this club:  Dr. Robert McBride, 1930-31; Mr. Carl Conlee, 1955-56 (did not serve due to ill health); and Dr. H. Ralph Stucky, 1974-75.

From its original membership of 23 the club has grown to 122 members with an annual budget of approximately $26,000 and a wide variety of service projects.  Its members are well known in the community for their acts of service and the club is beginning to reach out a helping hand beyond the borders of Las Cruces. 

In 1973, the club sponsored a mission in Chile.  In 1974, we sponsored the organization of a new club in Anthony with 21 charter members, and in 1975, we sponsored the organization of a second club in Las Cruces with 31 charter members.  The names of these new clubs are:  The Rotary Club of Anthony (New Mexico – Texas) and The Rio Grande Rotary Club of Las Cruces, New Mexico.  In 1975, the club supplied about 30 used school desks to a school in Juárez, Mexico. 

The youth project, in its several phases, has been a notable success story during recent years. 

STUDENT GUESTS – Student guests of the club total about 125 students each year.  One student from Las Cruces High, one from Mayfield High, one student from New Mexico State University, and Foreign students are invited to be guests of the month for one month each for the nine regular school months.  They come to be acquainted with Rotary, and us with them.  This program has a budget cost of around $400 each year. 

HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP – Since 1960, Las Cruces Rotary Club has assisted 68 students from the high schools to get a start at NMSU by offering scholarships.  Three or four scholarships have been awarded each year with a total budget cost of $19,500 to the 68 students.  In the early years, the awards were from $200 to $250 per year, and in recent years, $500 per year for each student.  These scholarships are awarded to high school seniors who enroll at NMSU.

RESULTS – As an indication of the impact these awards have had, is the fact that at least 18 of the students have received Bachelor’s degrees from NMSU, one received an MS, and two PhD degrees.  Many more of the 68 may have received degrees because it is difficult to trace them, especially the women who may graduate under married names.  Also, about 12 to 15 of them are still in the University working toward degrees. 

VOCATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS – With the establishment of the Doña Ana Vocational Educational Branch of NMSU, several students have been assisted by scholarships to assist with their studies in this Branch.  The budget cost was $750 for the past two years, a budget cost of $1,500. 

ROTARY FOUNDATION FELLOWSHIPS – Jerri Lynn Gantz of Las Cruces was awarded a Rotary International Fellowship to the University of Dublin in Ireland from Rotary District 552 and Karen Bomont, Las Cruces, was awarded a Fellowship to France.  These awards are for a year of study in an outstanding university in a foreign country and covers travel, tuition, books, room and board, and some travel in the host country.  Each student is also the guest of Rotary in the District in which the university is located. 

The Las Cruces Club has served as host for three Rotary Fellows from other countries who studied at NMSU.  They were from India, Pakistan, and Argentina. 

The funds for Rotary Foundation come from the Contributions from the individual Rotary Club members around the world which in 1975-76 totalled $8,835,320.

Each student receiving an education award in 1975-76 cost Rotary Foundation $7,076 on the average.  During 1975-76 there were 477 Graduate Fellowships, 110 Undergraduate Scholarships, 55 Technical Training Awards, 60 awards to teachers of the handicapped, 85 Group Study Exchange groups, and 8 Special Project Grants.  The total of these awards was $5,749,087. 

INTERNATIONAL GROUP STUDY EXCHANGE – The group Study Exchange is supported by Rotary Foundation Grants.  Five non-Rotarians and one Rotarian from District 552 in three separate five man groups have visited for six to eight weeks each in Australia, Argentina and England.  Similar teams from those countries have visited our district and all have been guests of the Las Cruces Club during their stay.  Phil Ambrose of our club was the Rotarian leader of the group which went to Australia. 

700% ROTARY FOUNDATION CLUB – Las Cruces became a 700% club during 1976, by contributing $8,567.50 since 1948, when the Foundation was established, or a total of over $70 for each of the 124 members on July 1, 1975. 

TWO PAUL HARRIS FELLOWS AWARDED – Past District Governor, (1974-75) Ralph Stucky was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow during the 1976 Annual District Conference in Albuquerque.  The Las Cruces, Anthony, and Rio Grande Clubs combined to contribute $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation in the name of the recipient. 

Honorary Member, General Hugh M. Milton, Ret., was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow by the Las Cruces Rotary Club during a special program honoring General Milton for his great service to Rotary, and also his community, state, and nation. 



100% Rotary Foundation Club


200% Rotary Foundation Club


300% Rotary Foundation Club


400% Rotary Foundation Club


500% Rotary Foundation Club


600% Rotary Foundation Club


700% Rotary Foundation Club

This percentage is figured by dividing the total amount the club has given to Rotary Foundation since 1955 by the number of members in the club in the year being figured.  A club is considered a 100% Club when its accumulated Contributions to the Foundation are equivalent to $10.00 per member based on the club membership report for the month of December and the preceding Rotary year.  The Las Cruces Club is now a 700% Club because its total contributions since 1955 of $8,567.50 divided by our 122 members, as of December 1975, exceeds $70 per member, thus a 700% Club.