In the spring of 1935 several community leaders met with T. Howard Duckett, president of the main bank in College Park, to discuss the formation of a Rotary Club. They decided to proceed under the sponsor of the Washington (DC) Rotary club. The club was organized at a meeting in the Dining Hall of the University of Maryland on May 13, 1935. Dr. H. C. "Curley" Byrd, who became a legendary President of the University of Maryland, was elected the club's first president and accepted the club's charter from Rotary International. Congratulations came from around the world. The new club had 26 charter members.
The club's affiliation with Rotary International (RI) places College Park Rotarians in the company of more than 1.2 million Rotarians organized into 31,651 clubs in 166 countries around the world including new clubs in Russia, China and eastern Europe. RI is well known for its contributions to world peace, international understanding, and improved health.
Perhaps the best known project of RI is its PolioPlus Campaign that has raised approximately $500,000,000 (including substantial contributions from the College Park Club) in support of the worldwide effort to eradicate polio - hopefully by 2005 the hundredth anniversary of Rotary. Rotarians have also participated directly in efforts to administer the vaccine. Other RI international programs include student exchanges, exchange programs for young professionals, post-baccalaureate scholarships, grants for community projects, and others.