The Syracuse Rotary club was chartered in 1928 when the Rotary Club of Garden City sponsored Syracuse’s membership. Ninety-five years later, Megan Larkin has become the first woman President of Syracuse Rotary.
Larkin has been a loan processor at Valley State Bank for the last 2.5 years. She is the daughter of Superintendent Paul Larkin and Elementary School teacher, Mary Larkin. She coaches junior high girls basketball and third and fourth grade volleyball.
Larkin joined Syracuse Rotary in January 2022. Tim Kohart, former President of Valley State Bank, was retiring and asked Larkin if she would like to represent the bank.
Larkin said, “I enjoy keeping up with what is going on in the community. I like that Rotary offers scholarships each year. I am working with Clayton Wharton to have the FFA kids help with putting up flags during holidays.”
Larkin was preceded by Mark Davis who has served as President of Rotary several times since he began his membership in the late 1980s.
Mark’s great grandfather W. C. Daughtery was one of the founding members of the Syracuse club. Daugherty owned the local drugstore and at one time became the District Governor of Rotary.
Rotary started with the vision of Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.
One of the members, Harry Ford was a merchant, born in Syracuse, Kansas, March 9, 1889. In 1921, Mr. Ford was vice president and director of the First National Bank. He was a member of the Hamilton County Commercial Club, and the Masons (32nd degree, Scottish Rite, Shrine). He was a Protestant and a former member of the Rotary Club.
According to Kansas State Historical Society, in August 1933, a group photograph was taken of the Syracuse, Kansas, Rotary Club boys’ trip to Topeka.
The boys met Kansas Governor Alf Landon, who can be seen at the center of the photo below. The club secretary, Earl Hinden, sent this picture to the governor and told him “The boys enjoyed meeting you.” The photograph was taken by Wolfe Commercial Photo Service, Topeka, Kansas.
Over time, Rotary’s reach and vision gradually extended to humanitarian service. Members have a long track record of addressing challenges in their communities and around the world.
Until 1989, it was a men’s only club. It was only after the United State Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for Rotary to deny women memberships.
Today, women are active participants in Rotary, serving their communities in increasing numbers and serving in leadership positions in Rotary. The 1989 Council on Legislation vote to admit women into Rotary clubs worldwide remains a watershed moment in the history of Rotary.
Where once no woman was allowed, today, seven women serve locally, including our county library director, extension agent, business owners, hospital adminstrator, and more.
Over the years, Syracuse Rotary has brought dictionaries to third graders, provided scholarships, donated to the local library, sent young men and women to Rotary Leadership Camp, put up the shelter at Sam’s Pond, and much more.
The club has hosted groups from India, sent money to purchase a well, and helped send heifers to other countries in need,
Davis commented, “I’m proud of our club and the effort people make to be a part. Megan is doing a fantastic job as President.”
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