Princeton Rotary will host 100th anniversary celebration dinner

Jim Nowlan will be the evening’s guest speaker

PRINCETON — Princeton Rotary will finally get to celebrate its century of service to the community with a formal dinner and presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 19, in The Barn at Hornbaker Gardens.

This is a dinner celebration that’s been two years in the making. Preparations for the dinner began in 2019 to host in 2020, which was the Rotary’s official 100th year in Princeton, however COVID put a halt on planning and the dinner was rescheduled for this month.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with a cash bar. Dinner, catered by Mark Allen’s American Kitchen, is at 7 p.m.

This is an invitation-only dinner.

Jim Nowlan, who can be called a “jack-of-all-trades” in Illinois public affairs will give the evening presentation.

Nowlan has been an Illinois legislator, statewide candidate, state agency director, senior aide to three unindicted governors, campaign manager for U.S. Senate and presidential candidates, professor, newspaper publisher and columnist.

In Nowlan’s presentation, he will look back on some of the most significant accomplishments of the Princeton Rotary. As a newcomer to the community, he will observe the strengths that he sees in Princeton, as well as lay out the challenges he believes cities like Princeton and the surrounding state of Illinois will face in the coming years. He said it will be up to service clubs like Princeton Rotary to determine how to address those challenges.

“I think of American service clubs — and their members — as the backbone of communities across the country, indeed around the globe. The Rotary is possibly the leading illustration of such clubs, which together have contributed greatly to American life.

The Princeton Rotary is still going strong, is actually growing, after a century of tumult and rapid change in America. That alone is proof the club has been fulfilling effectively its mission of service to community,” Nowlan said.

Princeton Mayor Joel Quiram will also be in attendance and give a talk about how Princeton Rotary’s impact on the community.

Also in this evening, the Princeton Rotary Club will be raffling off a special anniversary diamond pendant donated by Bruce Jewelers.

The pendant was made exclusively for this event. The pendant was designed to symbolize the service Princeton Rotary has provided for the past 100 years through its mission — the unique design will symbolize caring and affection which is the heart of the human experience.

Raffle tickets for the pendant will only be sold during the dinner event. The winner must be present to accept the pendant. The proceeds will support various charitable projects supported by the club.

As part of its 100th Anniversary, Princeton Rotary donated $10,000 to the Bureau County Historical Society to assist in its preservation project of the Bill Lamb collection. Additionally, the club donated 100 hours of service to the Princeton Bike and Pedestrian Committee in cleaning up sidewalks in town.

“If we look around at communities our size, service clubs are struggling to keep up membership and struggling to survive,” said Steve Bouslog, longtime member of the Princeton Rotary, “To make it 100 years is pretty phenomenal. That’s why we’re making such a big deal out of it and making this such a big event. We’re hoping it will carry us through another 100 years.”

Goldie Rapp

Goldie Rapp

Goldie Rapp is the Associate Editor of the Bureau County Republican and Putnam County Record. She has worked for Shaw Media since 2013.