A Leader Wherever She Is
Janice McElroy, Colby-Sawyer College's grants manager, has been named the District Governor Nominee Designate for Rotary International's District 7870, which encompasses 60 clubs with 1,800 members in southern New Hampshire and Vermont.
McElroy, a Rotary member since 2000 who was president of the Henniker Rotary Club in 2005 and is currently its director of international service, expects to be confirmed as District Governor Nominee at the end of May 2009. She will progress to district governor elect in 2010 and will serve as district governor starting July 1, 2011.
Rotary International, founded in 1905, is the world's first service club organization and has more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs in 200 countries who volunteer their time and talent to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build good will and peace in the world. With the motto Service Above Self, it's no surprise that Rotary's main objective is service in the community, the workplace, and throughout the world.
It's also no surprise to those who know her that McElroy enjoys leadership roles and identifies with Rotary's mission to create understanding and awareness of other cultures and promote world peace. She feels comfortable espousing those ideals, and looks forward to expanding her role in the organization.
A History of Leadership Shapes the Future
Rotary will reap the benefits of McElroy's expansive world view and many experiences in public service when she takes the district reins. As a Fulbright Scholar, she studied biochemistry and physiology at the University of Cologne in Germany; she has taught high school science and was a college instructor in education and psychology. She is a past president of the Pennsylvania State American Association of University Women and served on the board of directors for the United Nation's Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Before her move to New Hampshire in 1999, she ran for a Congressional seat for Pennsylvania's 15th district, and she served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.
At Colby-Sawyer, McElroy has been instrumental in securing more than $1 million in grants, and counts among her favorites a Davis Educational Foundation grant of more than $250,000 for the Digital Document Management system, support from the Cogswell Benevolent Trust ($25,000) and the Byrne Foundation ($25,000 last year and $25,000 pledged for this year) to fund a Nursing Learning Community for the Nursing faculty.
A grant is written to fund a project which solves a problem that both the funder and the college think is important, says McElroy. The pleasure of writing a proposal and securing the grant lies in knowing that something good will happen as a result. That is the same as with my work in Rotary, which has as its focus to do good in the world. I like to be a part of making good things happen, whether at Colby-Sawyer or in Rotary.
Colby-Sawyer President Tom Galligan says McElroy has been integral to the evolution of the college's work and its success. Jan has spearheaded many critical proposals that have helped us fund key college initiatives, he explains. Moreover, she is an intellectually curious, intelligent, and interesting member of our community.
McElroy first learned about Rotary when she was in the Pennsylvania state government. I spoke frequently to organizations like Rotary so I knew about it and saw what they did in the community, McElroy says. It was an organization I thought highly of, and when I moved here and was asked if I'd like to be a member, I said yes because I liked the people I'd met. It was a wonderful opportunity to establish relationships.
The Henniker club has been very active in Rotary's project Pure Water for the World, and directly involved with Nicaragua. In one case, McElroy wrote a grant to raise money to contribute to providing well water in a village, and another project was to provide bio sand filters for 200 families in Henniker's sister town of San Ramon.
Almost 1,500 people now have a lifetime supply of clean water based on our contribution, says McElroy. I haven't been down there, but a couple club members went, and they tell this story. An hour after a meeting started, a couple carrying a child from the village that received the filters walked in. They had walked for almost three hours through mud, carrying the child, just to thank Rotary for providing the water to their village. They talked about how their children are healthier now, and that their whole village has a renewed spirit the water had an effect on everybody, and they don't have to go the doctor as often. Those are the kinds of stories that are very rewarding, when you hear what you've done.
As district governor, McElroy hopes she will be able to help clubs better understand how to access Rotary Foundation funds and motivate them to become involved with some of its international projects and programs, such as its campaign to eradicate polio, its Ambassadorial Scholarships, the Group Study Exchange program, Rotary Grants for University Teachers, and Rotary World Peace Fellowships.
There are so many opportunities, she says. My greatest hope for my year as governor is to have the feeling that I've reached some of those clubs that may not have much feeling of connection to the district and help them understand how that connection can be strengthened, that there are benefits to attending district functions, that they can learn from the sessions we hold about the Rotary Foundation and its international programs it's really just hoping that the clubs can be strengthened and be more integrated into the broader organization. I would feel successful if I could make some breakthroughs in that area.
For reasons unrelated to her upcoming Rotary duties, Janice McElroy is retiring from Colby-Sawyer at the end of 2008. She will turn her full, formidable focus to preparing for her role as district governor, and fulfilling the responsibilities assigned to her in the two years of training that precede her year of leadership.
Colby-Sawyer has been the fortunate recipient of Jan's expertise for the last several years," says Vice President of Advancement Elizabeth Cahill. As the college's grants manager, she has been particularly successful because her rich academic background allows her to work seamlessly with faculty. She's able to bridge dreams with funding opportunities, and to successfully articulate programs and projects. We'll miss her excellent work, and we'll miss a warm and engaging colleague.
Janice McElroy may be leaving Colby-Sawyer, but she'll still be bridging dreams with Rotary International, connecting those who wish to serve their communities and their world with those who will most benefit.
Rotary has so many facets. It's neat, it's neat, McElroy chuckles. District governor it's going to be interesting.