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

We thank Stanford's Dr. Leslie Berlin​ for visiting our club and telling us about her approach to documenting the history of Silicon Valley. So interesting to learn about the many historical resources Dr. Berlin uses to accurately capture the stories of the companies and individuals that help define Silicon Valley.

We are honored to have had Dr. Michael Kirst, President of the State Board of Education, as our speaker this Friday. Dr. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University. He has been on the Stanford faculty since 1969. In 2011, he became the President of the California State Board Of Education for the second time. Professor Kirst was a member of the California State Board of Education (1975/1982) and its president from 1977 to 1981. Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty, and Director of Program Planning for the Elementary and Secondary Education of the US Office of Education. 
He is currently taking on the roll-out of the Common Core Standards here in California. These standards aim to align diverse state curricula to a consistent, clear set of standards nationwide that students are expected to learn. Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity have already independently adopted the standards. This is quite an undertaking in California where he has to try and satisfy the breadth of opinion from 6.2 million students and their parents, 310,000 teachers and their administrators, and the State and Federal policy makers. No easy task. Photos Courtesy of Ted Mock.

This week our speaker was Irwan Bello our Rotary Global Scholar. Since the revamp at the Rotary Foundation around how they now bestow scholarships, what were called the Ambassadorial Scholars are now funded by Global Grants. For the first time in two years, we have a visiting Rotary Global Scholar in our District to make a presentation to our club. An engineering graduate of Ecole Centrale in Paris, Irwan has done internships in Madagascar, India, Australia and the United States. With the help of a Rotary Global Grant, Irwan is studying for a Masters Degree in Data Science at Stanford University.

This week we will have two representatives from Reading Partners: Nicole Johnson and Gina Roberti. Using a structured curriculum to provide one-on-one tutoring, Reading Partners has helped more than 12,000 students become strong, confident readers. In 1999 they were founded by three community leaders who launched a program to help children with the poorest reading skills at Belle Haven Community School in Menlo Park. We whole heartedly support the work they have done at Belle Haven.

Members of Palo Alto University Rotary enjoyed two traditions this holiday season: our annual Christmas party and Friday Meeting gift exchange. Enjoy some photos courtesy of member Ted Mock of our members having a festive, good time! Thanks to Jochen and Hala Kleinknecht for allowing us to celebrate in your home and Meredith Warshaw for all her hard work organizing the event!
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.



Mar 06, 2015
Tim Burke
WellDone-- Applying Technology in Developing Countries'
Mar 13, 2015
Linda Wells
Connecting the "Re-entering" with Employment Opportunities
Mar 20, 2015
Mar 27, 2015
Jason Strickland
Project Sanctuary
Apr 03, 2015
Alvaro Carias
ESNA Villages, El Salvador
Apr 17, 2015
Joel Simon
Anecdotes of Travel Photography
Apr 24, 2015
Sally Dominguez
Pathways to Creativity
May 01, 2015
Catalin Voss
Face-Tracking Software
May 08, 2015
Off-Site Visit-- Tentative
Vocational Service
May 15, 2015
Allison Danner
Life in the Superior Court
May 22, 2015
Memorial Day Weekend

2013 Silver Anniversary Gala Corporate Sponsors:

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