Apr 15, 2020
Service Above Self & 4-Way Test Awards
Manufacturer and Business Association

Service Above Self

Service Above Self, Rotary’s primary official motto, can be traced back to the early days of the organization.

In  1911, the second Rotary convention, in Portland, Oregon inspired the motto Service Above Self. During an outing on the Columbia River, Ben Collins, president of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, talked with Seattle Rotarian J.E. Pinkham about the proper way to organize a Rotary club, offering the principle his club had adopted: Service, Not Self. Pinkham invited Rotary founder Paul Harris, who also was on the trip, to join their conversation. Harris asked Collins to address the convention, and the phrase Service, Not Self was met with great enthusiasm.

At the 1950 Rotary International Convention in Detroit, Michigan, USA, the slogans was formally approved as one of the two official mottoes of Rotary: He Profits Most Who Serves Best and Service Above Self. The 1989 Council on Legislation established Service Above Self as the principal motto of Rotary because it best conveys the philosophy of unselfish volunteer service.

Four-Way Test

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. It was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as Rotary International President) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. This 24-word code of ethics for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary 11 years later in 1943, the 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It is a cornerstone upon which Rotary has come to define its ethics worldwide. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at club meetings:
Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Since 1993, the Rotary Club of Erie has selected one of its members the annual Four-Way Test reciepient, based on their outstanding service to the Club and to Rotary overall. This year's recipient will be unveiled at this luncheon.