COOS BAY — Dr. Sylvia Whitlock, the first female to serve as the president of a Rotary club, will be visiting Coos Bay to share a presentation titled “Edge of Tomorrow." She will speak at 6 p.m., Monday, March 2, at Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Coos campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts. This talk is free and open to the public. The following day, March 3, she will present for the Coos Bay-North Bend Rotary Club at the Mill Casino’s Salmon Room at 12 p.m. This presentation will focus on the local Rotarian clubs but all are welcome.
Dr. Whitlock will speak about her love of Rotary and her experience in Duarte, Calif., when she was invited to join that Rotary club back in the late 1970s. At the time, Rotary did not admit women as members and the club lost its charter as a result of inviting women to join. However, the club decided to continue to meet and do charitable work independently. They called themselves the Ex-Rotary Club of Duarte, California. The Ex Club fought the dismissal in the California Supreme court and lost, but eventually won their case in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987.
Dr. Whitlock will share stories about her life’s work supporting causes related to Rotary projects around the world, including her role in and passion for the Piyali Girls School near Calcutta, India. The school teaches girls from preschool to 12th grade the skills that will help them to rise above the extreme poverty that they face in the area. The school also provides safe on-campus housing as many of the girls in that area are at risk of exploitation by sex traffickers. The school was started by a Rotarian 10 years ago and Rotarians from around the world often go there to help. Dr. Whitlock will be going to visit the school for her 10th time in February. She requires no stipend for her speaking engagements, instead she asks that people make donations to the Piyali Girls School.
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This event is being sponsored by Southwestern Oregon Community College, the Rotary Club of Coos Bay-North Bend, and the League of Women Voters.