The Rotary Club of Shippensburg, the first service club in our historic community, was granted its charter on April 16, 1924. The formation of the club was the result of a three-way effort. Paul B. Noftsker, the first president, had talked with William Kronenberg of Carlisle about forming a club. At the same time Sydney Boher, the first secretary, and M.L. Beistle, a director, had worked independently with Harry Mong, who was then president of the Rotary Club of Chambersburg.

Paul Noftsker then joined with 19 others in accepting the charter from the Chambersburg club which at that time was part of District #24 to which the new Shippensburg club was also assigned. Since that time, through redistricting, the Shippensburg club has become a part of District 7390.


According to local newspapers, the first meeting of the Shippensburg club was in the National Hotel on West King Street (this may have been the Sherman House). Subsequent meeting places were the John Morrison Restaurant, Morrison Hotel, Flor-Em Restaurant (19 W. King St.), M & N Restaurant, American Legion, University Lodge, Rustic Inn/Bella Napoli (today’s Arooga's), the The Shippen Place Hotel, and finally back to the former American Legion site which was then Knute's Pub & Grill. Since Knute's closed at the end of 2017, the club has begun rotating between venues on a monthly basis, maintaining its meeting time. Over the years the meeting time changed from dinner to lunch to breakfast to alternating breakfast/lunch (1999-2000) and finally settling at lunch in 2000-2001 Rotary year.


For many years, the club maintained a membership of a little over 40. In the first part of this century the numbers declined to the low twenties, but have recently rebounded into the thirties. In 1988, after Rotary International voted to allow clubs the option, Shippensburg voted to accept women as members. Today they make up about half of the group, with numbers increasing more rapidly than men, and it's hard to imagine Rotary any other way.


An early club newsletter was “Try Weakley,” with the slogan “always in tune” which suggests the interest the group had in singing. In the ‘50s the newsletter was “Rotariantics,” and after that “The Voice” kept members informed of activities, important dates, issues, and programs. After a year (2000-2001) with no newsletter, it was revived in 2001-2002. These days, club members are kept informed with through weekly e-mails, as well as posts to and Facebook.


To improve the quality of life in our community, the Rotary Club of Shippensburg has been involved in many projects, partnering with other local organizations: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League, Labor Day baseball games, Shippensburg Band, the Shippensburg Public Library, an annual Christmas theater party for children (Frank Hollar & Rotary co-sponsored), community Christmas tree, Memorial Park improvements, a downtown tree-planting project, and Christmas lighting contests. Members were instrumental in organizing the Chamber of Commerce and the first Playground Association which has developed into today’s Park and Recreation Commission. The club’s early interest in handicapped children continued for years with an annual work day at Camp Harmony Hall (now closed), an Easter Seal agency. An annual blood drive was another project which has since been integrated with a community blood drive.

More recently, Rotary International’s theme, “Preserve Planet Earth,” inspired the ongoing task of improving Dykeman’s Spring. The club is also currently involved in the Adopt-A-Highway program with the responsibility for Exit 24 and helps maintain the Peace Garden in Memorial Park. For several years a Four-Way Test Award was presented to the local person who exemplified those ideals and also held a Courtesy Campaign to recognize people who demonstrate uncommon courtesy and friendliness in community businesses.

In 2000 the president of the club spearheaded planning for a first-ever community New Year’s Eve celebration which was held December 31, 2001. The event, dubbed “Drop the Anchor,” was a joint project of several service clubs. Now primarily Rotary-run, it continues to receive support from many groups and businesses in the community.

Youth activities are an important focus of Shippensburg's Rotary club. Scholarships are presented each year to three graduating high school seniors, and once each month, two "Students of the Month" join members at a meeting. The club regularly sponsors Youth Exchange students and has sponsored Rotary Scholars and RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) participants. We currently have an Interact Club at our high school, and have in recent years sponsored Four-Way Test Speech Contest participants.

To encourage safer biking, a Bicycle Rodeo was organized by our club, along with the Trauma Society and Optimist Club, in 1992. For several years members helped with the Special Olympics held by the public schools.

In recent years, the club has turned its attention once again to our community, leading the construction of trailhead facilities including public restrooms at the new Cumberland Valley Rail Trail extension into Shippensburg from the Shippensburg Township Park. Working with Shippensburg Township to obtain a Land Partnership grant from Cumberland County, and Rotary District 7390 for a pair of matching grants from The Rotary Foundation, as well as other partners, the facility will anchor a new township pocket park in the heart of Shippensburg, just two blocks from the center of town. When it opens in the fall of 2017 it will serve as a gateway and comfort station to trailgoers on the pedestrian and bicycle path that will eventually stretch more than 20 miles to join up with the Carlisle trail network.

Also in 2017, we have been constructing park benches with the assistance of another Club Foundation grant from Rotary District 7390 and The Rotary Foundation, and will be installing them in recreational areas around our community with support from local businesses.


One of the most successful projects ever conducted by Rotary in Shippensburg was the Polio Plus Campaign for which members pledged $22,000 to Rotary International’s project to rid the planet of polio by the year 2000. When it became obvious that this polio campaign would have to be extended, the Shippensburg club again stepped forward with an additional pledge to Rotary International, and as the number of new cases dwindles annually in just a handful of countries, we will continue to contribute until the disease is wiped out forever.An annual community ham and oyster dinner, a booth at the Corn Festival, and a golf tournament are the important activities that have helped to fund club projects in past years. The annual golf tournament remains the largest fundraiser, making it possible to award three scholarships to Shippensburg Area Senior High School seniors every year. Newer fundraisers include a Paint Nite program and a spring "Drive-Thru BBQ." In 2014, our club "adopted" the popular community Furry Fun Days event that raises money for local animal shelters and rescues.


Here is a list of our most recent presidents and their terms served. For a complete list of Shippensburg Rotary's past presidents, click here.

2019-2020 Jody Cole (President-Nominee)  
2018-2019 Cory Nye (President-Elect)  
2017-2018 Gary Davis  
2016-2017 Gary Davis  
2015-2016 Carolyn Callaghan  
2014-2015 Ra Kligge  
2013-2014 Ra Kligge  
2012-2013 Allen Dugan  
2011-2012 John Knutelsky  
2010-2011 Dr. Drew Wellmon  
2009-2010 Alan Patton