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History of District 7980

Prior to 1915-16, Rotary Clubs were not divided into districts, but in that year, it was decided to do so for the better administration and service to the clubs. In 1915-16, we were assigned to District No. 1, the lowest district number, and remained there until 1918-19 when we became part of District No. 2; we became part of District 30, made up of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, which was subsequently renumbered in 1937-38 as District 199.

In 1923, Donald Adams from the Rotary Club of New Haven, CT was named 1st Vice President of Rotary International and became the 15th President of R.I. for the year 1925-26. The Donald Adams Outstanding Rotarian Award was inaugurated in 1976 to honor a member who represents all around contribution to the Four Avenues of Service of Rotary Service. The first recipient was Bernhardt Erk of Cheshire, who later became the District Governor in 1980-81.

Effective March 20, 1938, District 199 was divided into two districts and our part was included in District 200. In 1949-50 the boundaries of our District were redefined as District 292 comprising the counties of Fairfield, NewHaven, Middlesex and New London, but in1957-58 we were renumbered 798. Charles W. Pettengill of the Rotary Club of Greenwich, CT was elected to the Board of Directors of R.I. in 1963 and then became the 54th President of R.I. for 1964-65. To honor this achievement, the Charles W. Pettengill Outstanding Club Award was instituted and awarded to that club which has distinguished itself by building an outstanding record of service in any one or a combination of Rotary's Four Avenues of Service during the preceding three years. The Rotary Club of New Haven was the first club so honored.

Marcel Corbat of the Rotary Club of Stamford was elected as a Director of R.I. in 1970 and became 1st Vice President of R.I. in 1971-72. Effective July 1, 1991, R.I. added a "0" to all District numbers, hence we became District 7980. Abraham I. Gordon of the Rotary Club of Bridgeport was elected Director of R.I. in 1998 and then moved on to become 1st Vice President of R.I. for 1999-2000.

In 2009 District 7980 was selected as 1 of the 100 "Pilot Districts" under the Rotary Foundation's Future Vision Plan. And in 2010 district clubs were awarded the very first global humanitarian grant in the world -  to combat Dengue fever in Indonesia.

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