Palo Alto University Rotary Club

Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Palo Alto University

Service Above Self

We meet Fridays at 7:30 AM
Sheraton Hotel
625 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA  94301-2301
United States
District Site
Venue Map

Club Officers

President Elect
Immediate Past President
Membership Co-Chair
Rotary Foundation Co-Chair
Vocational Service Co-Chair
Community Service Co-Chair
Youth Services Co-Chair
Youth Services Co-Chair
Social Committee Co-Chair
Membership Co-Chair
Board Member at Large
We Care Co-Chair
Club Service Chair
Development Chair
Club Trainer
Program Co-Chair
Chief of Staff
Program Co-Chair
Public Relations Chair
Vocational Service Co-Chair
International Service Co-Chair
Community Service Co-Chair
International Service Co-Chair
Rotary Foundation Co-Chair

Palo Alto University Rotary Club

District 5170

Club 25,471

P. O. Box 760

Palo Alto, CA 94302 


President's Message

Palo Alto University Rotary lights up the community because of our diverse and vibrant membership of 90+, including many who are affiliates of nearby Stanford University. PAUR is particularly proud of our work with the Belle Haven School and the Stevenson House locally and Caluco, El Salvador internationally, among our other important philanthropic projects.
- Sandra Florstedt 

Home Page Stories

Rotary continues to serve the community by putting up American flags along University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto on holidays. This Veterans Day, we were lucky enough to be joined by the little ones from the local elementary school, Walter Hayes School Girl Scouts. Look at the pictures below of our Rotarians hard at work with their families and the local Girl Scouts!

Last Friday, Toni Schwarzenbach Burke spoke to PAUR about City Year and how they are closing the gap between what students need to succeed and what schools are designed to provide. As the Vice President and Executive Director of City Year San José/Silicon Valley, she leads 74 AmeriCorps members serving in seven schools, leading to an impact totaling more than 3,600 students every day.

In high-poverty communities, external factors and obstacles that students are faced with every day can interfere with their chance at education and ability to get ready for school; over 2,600 students in San José drop out of high school every year. City Year believes that education has the power to help every child reach his or her potential, so they use peer-mentors to help out San José’s most under-served schools and to address specific areas that lead to students dropping out. It was wonderful hearing about the positive impact this organization has on our future leaders.

PAUR met this past Wednesday for an informational meeting on the fast-approaching trip to El Salvador, graciously hosted by our incoming President Richard Schoelerman. Doctors William Grindley and Jerry Torrance discussed the history of PAUR and our role and accomplishments in the El Salvador area. They also shared the trip itinerary, which will tentatively include visiting a medical/dental clinic, visiting the 10 students we are enabling to attend high school, and the opportunity to help mentor 8 entrepreneurs in Las Trincheras identified by ESNA that would like to establish a business.

One afternoon of the trip would be spent working in groups to assist the entrepreneurs in developing their business plans for sustainability. At least one bilingual person from ESNA would be on each team to assist with translational needs. This is a hugely exciting opportunity to bring the magic and ingenuity from the Silicon Valley mindset into entrepreneurial mentoring in a worthy area. This is a great hands-on opportunity to leave your mark on a developing area.

The trip will likely be a Friday through Sunday in late January/ early February of 2015. It will be in the all-inclusive beachside resort, Royal Decameron, and is not only a great time to bond with your fellow Rotarians in a relaxing beachside environment, but also an opportunity to see PAUR’s impact in the rural community of Caluco. Thank you Richard Schoelerman for hosting such an informative event, and we hope to see a lot of PAUR members embark on this exciting journey!

We celebrated our Halloween morning with speaker Cyrus Khambatta, a man who has lived a healthy and fun lifestyle despite having been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 11 years prior as a senior at Stanford. Cyrus has a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley and is now a nutrition and fitness coach for people with diabetes. Using science-based whole foods nutrition and incredibly fun fitness, he helps those affected reverse the effects of insulin resistance. It was enlightening to hear about Cyrus's experience living with diabetes and his epiphany to radically change his diet and lifestyle.
Cyrus said in his bio that this "aha" moment happened when he'd hit rock bottom. "At that moment, I listened to the voice in my head that had been telling me the same thing since I was a five year old child. In a slow, confident tone, similar to the words a wise grandfather would tell his grandchildren, the voice said, 'Cyrus. The time has come. Learn how to eat.' For the first time, I listened to that voice. It was the single greatest decision I ever made."

Thank you to everyone who came out to Oktoberfest at Stevenson House! We had a lot of fun benefiting low-income seniors, and the event was a huge success. Check out these pictures from the event!

This past Friday we were fortunate to hear from Lenny Lind, the Founder, Chairman and Senior Consultant for Covision, a company dedicated to designing the world's ost productive meetings. Lenny took us behind the scenes of some of the biggest meetings for mega venues, such as the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Economic Forum and hundreds of senior leadership meetings, and event conducted a demonstrationof the efficient gathering of group feedback from our very own group! His expertise in technology and design for high engagement kept us fully engaged - we learned a lot thanks to Lenny's intelligence and guidance!

It's that time of the year again! Thanks so much to Gloria Hom of the League of Women Voters for going over the ballot measures that we will vote in in the upcoming election. In can be hard to sort through the information about each measure, so we are grateful that Ms. Hom gave us an unbiased look at the pros, cons, supporters and opponents of each so we can make a more informed decision. Now, let's get out there and vote!

We enjoyed a visit from the Rotary District Governor, Ed Jellen last Friday. Mr. Jellen comes from the Rotary Club of Oakland and shared with us his experiences in Rotary, his vision and why everything we do matters. He did all this with clarity, charm and a good sense of humor. Thanks to all club members for making him feel so welcome.

Last Friday we welcomed Darren Hau, co-founder of Dragonfly Systems, who recently joined SunPower. He spoke about cleantech and how the industry is becoming leaner and more focused and as a result, more effective. We learned about one Stanford-affiliated cleanteach startup's success, the solar industry as a whole and future opportunities in energy. 


This last Friday we heard from two fabulous new members! Katie Cooney is an events manager with an MBA and leadership in marketing, special events, organizational strategy, fundraising, and client relationship management. Katie is a talented photographer and showed us many images from her exciting travel. Okke Schrijvers is getting his Ph.D. at Stanford in Computer Science with an emphasis in Algorithmic Game Theory. He is another of our international all-stars, coming from the Netherlands and is also the President of Dutch @ Stanford, an association that aims to share the Dutch culture with others. Welcome!!

Daniel Hartwig, the Stanford University Archivist, spoke to PAUR last Friday. Daniel has grown to love the archive and the work associated with preserving it, and he is passionate about combining his innovative and creative tendencies with the need to digitalize Stanford's analog archives.
Daniel spoke on the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Jane Stanford, who was the wife of the founder of Stanford University. We enjoyed hearing about Jane Stanford and the legacy of our neighboring university from such a dedicated archivist. 

The Community Service Project to put up American Flags on holidays continues! Rotary at Work helped out this past Labor Day by putting up the flags along University Avenue. Below are pictures of families joining in on the Labor Day fun.  
Jake Yoo and his family had fun putting up US Flags!
Karen and Steve Ross, and their two granddaughters, Maya (age 6) and Camila (age 4) had a great Labor Day!

Our speaker, John Robichaux, is the Senior Assistant Dean at Stanford University and the Founding Director of the Office of Collegiate Programs at Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies. He is director of Stanford's Summer College Academy, a program that combines online and on campus summer courses for high-achieving students.
Dean Robichaux spoke on Stanford's innovative summer college program, which is changing the scope and reach of undergraduate academics. Through this program, students can participate remotely before regrouping in person on campus. He is extremely dedicated to providing students access to the world's best classrooms so that they may reach their fullest potential. It was wonderful hearing about such an innovative educational program so close to home. 


Sharon Tennison is the founder and president of the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), an organization that supports political and economic reforms in Russia. CCI dates back to the Cold War in 1983, when Sharon led a group of American citizens in challenging the arms race by opening communication between the U.S. and the USSR. Sharon and her group called themselves "Citizen Diplomats". 
Sharon has recently joined the Palo Alto Rotary Club, and she spoke this past Friday on the role of Rotary across Russia and her views on the current Russian and Ukrainian crisis. She covered a lot of ground on the issue, but the situation in Russia cannot possibly be covered properly in such a short period of time. It was wonderful hearing her experience in observing how Rotary grew and influenced the people within Russia. We enjoyed listening to Sharon's thoughts and thank her for speaking.

Last Friday, PAUR met at Belle Haven Community School, a place in which we have been involved for 25 years, to hear our speaker Dr. Gloria M. Hernández-Goff, Superintendent of Ravenswood City School District. Dr. Hernández-Goff is an expert in many facets of education, having experience as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, Title I resource teacher, staff development trainer, school administrator, school district assistant superintendent, and lecturer at Sacramento State University. She is an advocate for education reforms and initiatives to improve access to bilingual education. Dr. Hernández-Goff​ is the developer behind the Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project, a nationally recognized model for encouraging parent involvement. 
PAUR thoroughly enjoyed hearing from one of the leading voices within the educational field and would like to thank Dr. Gloria Hernández-Goff for a wonderful event.

We had beautiful weather this past saturday for our PAUR picnic at Foothills Park in the Palo Alto Hills. We had a lot of fun spending time together with great food and sunny weather! Here are some pictures from the event, courtesy of Ted Mock! 


Yesterday in our PAUR meeting, Sally Mahoney, Martha Meyer, Pat Devaney, Bob Barrett, and Leif Erickson presented about our commitment to Belle Haven School over the last 25 years. They discussed in detail the demographic and structural changes over time that we have helped the school achieve. On top of that, talk of how to further help the school strengthen and grow was facilitated, while new ideas and plans were brought to the table. 

Big news for PAUR! This past Friday we welcomed our new president, Sandra Florstedt, to her position! Sandra is a professional business facilitator and an expert in effectiveness. Get ready for high expectations of participation from each member at our gatherings! Although Sandra claims this position will be one of her most challenging assignments yet, we have confidence that she will lead PAUR to great places. 

On Friday we had the pleasure of hearing from the head of the Cool City Challenge, David Gershon. Cool City Challenge is an initiative of empowerment facility. David discussed the goals of Cool City ranging from reducing carbon emissions to bringing neighborhoods together. He explained how cities are the places that carbon emissions need to reduce most, but are also the places that can help snowball a change in the way people live their lives. 


At our meeting on the 20th, PAUR looked back on the work our members have done in El Salvador the last 10 years. The meeting allowed old members to take a trip down memory lane, while informing our newer ones about our work and commitment on past projects. We reviewed what PAUR's original vision was going into El Salvador and the kind of impact we have had on people's lives there. While focus was primarily on the changing environment in Caluco and what kind of opportunities the people there now have. we also discussed the future of our presence in El Salvador.

On the Friday of last week, we had the pleasure of hearing some of our PAUR veterans share their stories. We welcomed new members and celebrated long-term members. Here are some pictures from the event, thanks to Ted Mock!





This past Friday PAUR visited the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto to help fight the war on hunger. The Ecumenical Hunger Program is an organization that provides support and assistance for its community to both families and individuals. We had a great time on Friday and look forward to working with EHP in the future! Thank you to Ted Mock for the following images!




We appreciate your support!

Our Annual Gala "Lifting Up the Community" boasted tremendous participation from PAUR members and the community at large! This year was special because we launched our Fund for the Future, a donor designated fund that will allow us to invest into the club and make an even stronger impact in the future. Thanks to the gala committee, club members, corporate sponsors and volunteers. Our Fund for the Future has a healthy start thanks to you! And now, enjoy some images courtesy of Ted Mock!

Megan Mobley (yours truly) is back from maternity leave and so excited for her son Wyatt to become a part of the Palo Alto University Rotary family! Our club embraces members from all walks of life and the support first time mom Megan and Wyatt have received from fellow members demonstrates this point precisely. Here's to future generations of Rotarians! Remember Wyatt, service above self!

Friday we heard from Sam Wineburg, the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education and of History (by courtesy) at Stanford University. He directs the Stanford History Education Group, which seeks to improve history instruction around the world. Prof. Wineburg's work questions history's role in modern society and especially how young people use the past to define themselves. Fascinating!


This Friday's Vocational Service Panel featured Fred Hornbruch, Bob Barrett, Leif Erikson and Elaine White and was MCed by Walter Moore.  Enjoy some photos taken by our own Ted Mock!


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Thanks to Stephanie Martinson of Racing Hearts for sharing her personal experience with cardiac arrest and the importance of easily accessible AEDs to help save lives. Racing Hearts' mission is to place as many AEDs, which help stimulate and restart one's heart, in high risk locations including schools, community center, and more. Thanks for teaching us about the importance of AEDs!




Thanks to Karen Kienzle, the Director of the Palo Alto Arts Center for talking with us about the newly renovated center and new plans to reach the community. Highlights of the renovated building include a new Children’s Wing with double the number of classrooms, transformed exhibition galleries, new lobby spaces and public areas and beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces for all to enjoy!





We are excited to learn more about one of our newest members, Steve Paterson, who is the publisher of several local dailies through the Bay Area News Group.  Steve is a strong believer in the connection between local journalism and the community it represents. We look forward to learning more from him as he brings his papers further into the digital space, which he says he will be aggressive about.





Our club demonstrates just how close we are to eliminating Polio from this planet as a part of Rotary International's END POLIO NOW campaign. Thanks everyone for your participation!!




Our speaker on Friday was Zachary Brown, 5th year PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Earth System Science (EESS) at Stanford University. We learned about phytoplankton and its role in high-latitude marine ecosystems, as well as how it, along with the broader environment, might adapt and evolve to global climate change.




How much do you really get done while multitasking? Our speaker today, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, has spent the past twenty years studying people, technology, and the worlds they make. A professional futurist with a PhD in the history of science, Pang is a former Microsoft Research fellow, a visiting scholar at Stanford and Oxford universities, and a senior consultant at Strategic Business Insights, a Silicon Valley-based think tank. Pang's writings have appeared in Scientific American, American Scientist, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review, as well as in many academic publications. We appreciate the reminder that it is more efficient to compartmentalize tasks, instead of attempting everything at once!




Margot Knight, the Executive Director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program spoke to our group. The Djerassi Resident Artists Program is an incredible artists’ retreat set in the hills above Woodside. The mission of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program is to support and enhance the creativity of artists by providing uninterrupted time for work, reflection, and collegial interaction in a setting of great natural beauty, and to preserve the land on which the Program is situated. We enjoyed viewing images of the lands, the artwork, as well as hearing about the vision to promote artist from all over the world.

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This Friday, we were honored by a visit from Angie Hassler, our Rotary District Governor. Interestingly, PAUR welcomed Angie as the spouse of District Governor Roger Hassler and this week the roles are reversed! Ms. Hassler's objective was “to encourage and inspire us to continue the great work our club is doing in our community and world.” Cheers to that!




Started in 1991 for students at risk of not graduating from one of the 11 regular comprehensive high schools in the East Side Union High School District, Pegasus accepts students who may have dropped out or who have significantly fallen behind in credits necessary for graduation. In the school year 2010-2011, 73% of the students at Pegasus were of Hispanic ethnicity, although only 13% were English learners. The supportive environment that Pegasus provides encourages all students to accept personal responsibility and, once successful, to move productively forward to the next stage of their lives. We loved hearing about the creative approach to teaching used at Pegasus!Image


James L. Sweeney, needs no introduction for many of our members.  Jim was an original member of this club and served as “Mr. Program” for at least nine of its first 10 years in existence. We thank him for setting such a high standard for Fridayprograms that followed! It was so fun to catch up with Jim. He is welcomed back to visit our club any time! Image


Our speaker this Friday was Vincent Michael, the new Executive Director of Global Heritage Fund (GHF). GHF’s mission is to provide historic preservation projects, primarily in the third world, with financial and technical resources. Preservation by Design® is GHF’s integrated conservation and development methodology - a living framework that combines long-range planning, conservation science, community engagement and monitoring and evaluation. The group really seems to empower members of the local community to respect and maintain their heritage.



We heard from some of our newest and youngest members this last Friday about why they joined Rotary, specifically PAUR and what the experience has been like thus far. The four panelist, whose average age was about 30, spoke of the strong community within PAUR, as well as the many opportunities to serve the greater community outside PAUR. All panelists spoke of how welcomed they felt when joining, especially considering their relatively young age. Since our club is celebrating its 25 year anniversary, it's appropriate to say "Here's to the next 25 years!"


Our speaker this week was Rosanna Palomo, the principal of Belle Haven School, our club’s adopted school.  Ms. Palomo is beginning her second year as principal of this K-8 school and will also be in charge as the new Community School Director, who has been chosen by the Ravenswood District School Board. We are delighted for the positive changes that will surely come to Belle Haven now that Ms. Palomo is at the helm.




This Friday we tried something different but juxtaposing two talks, one from one of our more 'seasoned' members, Judy Johnson, and one from one of our lovely new members, Brian Orth. Judy delighted us by explaining her new business, Unexpected Treasures, which sorts through items left after a move. Remember, one person's junk is another's treasure! Brian impressed us by talking about his business, MindMeetsMachine, which is a tech consulting firm. Brian is the club's go-to for all things technology! Thank goodness!





SilverTree Media is a game studio located in Palo Alto, California run by the Smith brothers. By teaming up with multimedia powerhouses such as Disney, EA, Microsoft and Google, SilverTree Media built the reputation for creating a variety of entertainment products reaching audiences of all ages. The studio also develops original in-house titles for iOS and Android devices, including the highly acclaimed Cordy, Cordy Sky, Cordy 2, and Sleepy Jack. We loved hearing about their start-up adventure and applaud their efforts to bring quality content to entertain us all!




This week we were privileged to hear from our own Walter Moore who has been president of Peninsula Open Space Trust for two years.  He showed us some of the most glorious hiking spots on the peninsula and also share some of the challenges in running POST, especially as it pertains to building the coalitions required when attempting to acquire target parcels of land. Thanks for helping preserve our home's natural beauty, Walter and POST!







Cheers to the new leadership team and thanks for discussing your goals for the year! Below are the new team members and an image of our new president, his lovely wife and pup! Welcome!

ELIOT TERBORGH, Immediate Past-President
PETER SUHR and MEGAN HEINEN, Club Service Co-chairs
BOB BARRETT and FRED HORNBRUCH, Vocational Service Co-chair
KATHLEEN WEISENBERG and KUMIKO YOSHINARI, International Service Co-chairs
RICHARD SCHOELERMAN, Community Service Chair, in search of a co-chair!!




Our speaker this Friday was Leah Katz, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in 2010-2011, here to tell us of her experience as both  a student and teacher in Uganda.  Leah worked with developmentally disabled children and told touching stories that helped her learn that one individual can so easily touch someone else's life.  Leah is now teaching back in the US in Half Moon Bay.




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