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Club Information
Iowa City Noon Rotary Club

Service Above Self 

We meet Thursdays at 12:00pm
University Athletic Club
1360 Melrose Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52246

District Site

Usha R. Balakrishnan

Usha R. Balakrishnan
2016-17 Club President

Club Presidency Year Aspirations: click here 

Club Presidency Power Point Presentation:  click here

Club Presidency Year Theme:
Make Rotary a favored Third Place for professionals (active and retired) in the Iowa City area!

IC Noon Rotary Stories
Our Club maintained a Moment of Silence for the passing of Rtn. Rich Vogelzang’s mother, aged 100. Our condolences to the Vogelzang family.
As this newsletter was being readied on Friday, President Usha wanted to share an update: She learned that Rtn. Dotti Maher is at the UIHC recovering well from surgery after a hip fracture which resulted from a mishap while Dotti was running with her dog last Sunday (Feb. 19). Dotti is in good spirits and is happy to receive your phone calls to cheer her up. We do wish Dotti a good recovery so that she gets back to normalcy in a few weeks.
President Usha congratulated Rtn. Matt Steele on getting married this week! How lovely that both Matt and his wife Andrea Jensen were in attendance at Rotary!
DG Chris Knapp invited all of us to attend the District Conference which will be held at the Coralville Marriott, May 4 – 6, 2017. Online registration is now available on the district web site. Early registration ends April 1. See the district web site:  for information.
President Usha invited DG Knapp to join her and our musicians Aaron Schaefer (voice) and Jim Conard (piano) to sing Happy Birthday to Rotary on the 112th anniversary of Rotary’s founding on February 23, 1905! Happy Birthday wishes too for fellow Rotarians born in the month of February. A big thanks to Tita Coffman and Horacio Olivo for joyfully singing a traditional Mexican Happy Birthday song in Spanish to celebrate Rotary’s 112th birthday! Vive le Rotary!  
New Member Induction: Jon Brown, Financial Services: Tax Agent (Sponsor: Usha Balakrishnan). Welcome to Rotary and to our Club, Jon!
Program: Fellow Rotarian and current board president of UNESCO City of Literature Jim Conard introduced fellow Rotarian John Kenyon, Executive Director, UNESCO City of Literature, as our speaker. Before becoming the Executive Director  in 2012, John was a journalist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette and editor of the Corridor Business Journal. The real start of literature in Iowa City began in the 1860s with the founding of several literary clubs. By the 1890s these literary clubs had evolved into writing clubs which was the basis for the start of creative writing. In 1897, the university offered its first creative writing course called “Verse Making”. A course on the short story followed in 1900. In 1915 the Midland was founded – a literary journal by Midwest writers. Individuals no longer had to go abroad to find places to write and create. They could do it right here in mid-America. The next phase of this movement was to invite writers to come to Iowa. The Saturday Luncheon Club was one of the best known groups in the 1920’s. Authors included Sherwood Anderson, Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg. The Times Club focused on artists and musicians and included such visitors as Thomas Hart Benton, W.C. Handy and Langston Hughes. They met in what is now the second floor café of local bookstore Prairie Lights. These clubs created much interest in a vibrant atmosphere that fostered creative writing. In 1922, the University of Iowa began to grant advanced degrees based on creative work rather than on teaching or research. In 1931 the first Ph.D.’s were awarded in the School of Letters at the university. The arts continued to flourish throughout Iowa City. Playwriting was added in 1923 with support from E.C.Mabie and the university theather. In 1925, the first music students earned MFA’s, and in 1926 art students were awarded the same. Josephine Donovan was set to earn the first master’s degree in 1929 for her novel “Black Soil”, but the book was bought for publication and by Hollywood so she didn’t pursue it. The first creative masters’ thesis by Mary Hoover Roberts was accepted in 1931. Mary’s works, “Paisley Shawl” was based on poetry. In 1932, five people, including Wallace Stegner and Paul Engle began their associations with the university. The graduate writing program was founded in 1936, and in 1939 it was officially named “The Writer’s Workshop” as we know it today. Paul Engle, director from 1941 – 1965, acknowledged that universities were not famous for taking chances, but the University of Iowa took one with the workshop. Talented individuals were attracted to Iowa City where they worked hard, published a variety of works, and attracted even more individuals to come – a self-fulfilling prophecy as described by Frank Convoy, director from 1987-2005.
In 2004, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) created the Creative Cities Network. The idea was to seek collaboration, share best practices and communicate in regards to literature, music, film, gastronomy, crafts and folk art, design and media arts. Christopher Merrill, current director of the International Writing Program at the university, and a group of local leaders submitted a 75 page application to become a City of Literature. In 2008 Iowa City was recognized as the third City of Literature, becoming one of 20 cities worldwide and part of 116 cities in the Creative Cities Network.
John invited everyone to attend One Book Two Book festival which will be held this weekend. It is a celebration of children’s literature and will feature writing for kids and by kids. Students from our local community in 1st  through 8th grade will be recognized for their literary work. Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador of Young Peoples Literature, is the featured keynote speaker at Friday night’s banquet, and will conduct a session on Saturday morning. Students will read their works, attend workshops, explore a science fair, see arts and crafts, and enjoy a book fair on Saturday and Sunday. For more information:
President Usha thanked Jim Conard and John Kenyon for an excellent program featuring the literary history of our city and for adding greater vibrancy to our community!
Top Rotary International News Stories
Convention: Southern hospitality
The Atlanta Host Organization Committee is offering some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality at the Rotary International Convention from 10 to 14 June. It has planned a wide range of activities featuring everything from good food and music to inspiring tours of local landmarks. If it’s your first convention, these events are chances to meet fellow Rotarians from around the world, and if you’re an experienced convention goer, you can catch up with old friends. Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron will host Rotarians for a “Strike Out Polio” night at the new SunTrust Park, where you’ll...
Member spotlight: The power of the press
When Teguest Yilma helped found the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Entoto in 2002, she thought polio had already been eradicated from most of the world. But while Ethiopia had been free of the disease, Yilma was shocked to learn that new cases had started cropping up in surrounding countries such as Somalia. “I was thinking, it’s not possible, we can’t be free if the countries around us are not free,” she says. Yilma, the managing editor of Capital, Ethiopia’s largest English weekly newspaper, has brought a journalist’s skills to the fight against polio. She became vice chair of the Ethiopia...
Mandela Fellows

July 21, 2016 with RI Past-President and young entrepreneurs from Africa.

Jill Olsen & John Ockenfels-RAG4Clubfoot Co-Chairs
Mar 02, 2017
Herb Wilson, Founder, Cook-Rotary Partnership with Ponseti Intl Assoc (PIA)
Ana Merino / Intro by Horacio Olivo
Mar 09, 2017
The Spanish Creative Literacy Project
Aaron Warner
Mar 16, 2017
Cybersecurity issues and startup ProCircular
Andre Perry
Mar 23, 2017
Arts, Innovation, and Community Partnerships
Dorothy Paul and John Fraser
Mar 30, 2017
Andrea Cohen - Johnson County United Nations Association
Deb Dunkhase, Deb Kacmarynski, John Stamler
Apr 06, 2017
Iowa M.O.S.T. Rotary Project: Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate Surgery and Cataract Surgery in Guatemala
Susie Poulton, ICCSD / Intro by Ann Parker
Apr 13, 2017
School-Based Health Clinics
EARTH DAY / Shannon Ramsay: Trees Forever
Apr 20, 2017
Colleen Kennedy: Herbs, Flowers in Shakespeare Literature
Heath Streck, VA Hospital (Iowa City)
Apr 27, 2017
Leadership Perspectives from the US Military and Health Administration
Tammy Richardson-BurOakLandTrust/Steve Schomberg
May 04, 2017
Leaving Legacies / Mike Stoffregen-Community Foundation of Johnson County
Rives Bird, Richard Hurtig: Communicative devices
May 11, 2017
Voxello-UI lab to commercialization experience to improve patient care
Mick Starcevich
May 18, 2017
Kirkwood Community College
Female Presidents of Iowa City Area Rotary Clubs
May 25, 2017
John Gross, Pete Wallace: Celebrating 30th Anniversary of Rotary admitting women members

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