Liz Zienty became the Rotary Club of Naperville's 74th president during the service club's recent annual installation dinner.
Zienty is the fourth woman to hold that position since women first were welcomed into Rotary in 1987. Rita Harvard, Barbara Dwyer and Patricia Merryweather-Arges are Naperville's other women leaders who have led this club as president in recent years. Merryweather-Arges, now Rotary International District 6450 governor, installed Zienty as president.
John Gallagher was installed as president-elect, Mary Lynn Hoffer as treasurer and Sandy Benson as secretary.
Outgoing Rotary Club of Naperville President Frank Slocumb presented Zienty with the club's prestigious Four Avenues of Service Award.
"For Liz, Rotary's motto of 'Service above Self' defines her approach to the community and to our Rotary Club," he said. "The Four Avenues of Service Award is given to a Rotarian who has been involved in all of the areas of service provided by the Rotary Club of Naperville over the years: community service, international service, vocational service and club service."
Zienty served as the club's director of vocational services for almost three years. She energetically took on the role of Rotary liaison for Interact, Rotary International's service club for ages 14 to 18. The Interact Club, made up of about 100 students, is dedicated to doing service within the community. Under Zienty's guidance, the Interact Club earned two Presidential Citations from Rotary International and a second-place district award. Zienty also has been deeply involved with Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, better known as RYLA.
In addition, Zienty has helped organize two Make-A-Wish fundraisers, volunteered at Oktoberfest for 16 years (including serving as co-chairwoman of the manpower committee and helping recruit 750 volunteers), co-chaired Soup's On, helped solicit and package gift baskets for numerous silent auctions, helped select scholarship winners and plan several scholarship breakfasts and Paul Harris luncheons, collected coats at the Ford dealership and sorted clothing for Stand Down Day, helped plan several Upendo Village fundraisers, hosted two exchange students and four group-study participants, hosted "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" and provided handmade centerpieces for hundreds of Rotary luncheons and special events.
Zienty also has served as secretary for the Rotary Club of Naperville and helped plan programs for the club. She earned the club's Rotarian of the Year Award for 2008-09 and the Service above Self Award for 2007-08.
Another highlight of the evening was presenting Brand Bobosky with the Rita Harvard Lifetime Achievement Award.
"Brand Bobosky is one of a kind and we've been proud to have him as a member of the Rotary Club of Naperville for 30 years. Known by many as 'Naperville's Idea Man,' his record of 'Service above Self' to numerous Naperville organizations is lengthy and distinguished," Slocumb said.
"We're honored to present him as the 2012-2013 recipient of this valued achievement award. The Rita Harvard Lifetime Achievement Award is our highest honor, and it is given to a Rotarian who has dedicated their life to service to our community. This award is named in honor of Rita Harvard, the Rotary Club of Naperville's first female member in 1985, and first female president in 1994."
Bobosky's innovative contributions to Naperville are legendary. More than 30 years ago, he conceptualized the annual "Bids for Kids" Little Friends auction with his wife, Mary Ann. The first year, the auction raised about $10,000, and now it raises about $100,000 annually to benefit people with disabilities.
"That is the idea of which I'm most proud," Bobosky said. "It spawned all the other auctions for charity in Naperville. Literally millions of dollars have been raised through various charity auctions since then. I hope we are remembered for the Little Friends auction -- how that little seed, that little kernel, grew into something that is colossal and has done so much good for so many people."
Bobosky's most visible community achievement is Century Walk. Inspired by a public mural project that revitalized the small Vancouver Island mill town of Chemainus, he first proposed the concept of Century Walk to business and community leaders in 1995. His original idea was to commission and install three pieces of public art per year for 10 years. Envisioning a mixture of murals, sculptures and mosaics, he suggested that the mission of Century Walk would be to honor significant people, places and events of 20th century Naperville. Bobosky has continued to serve as the visionary executive director of Century Walk, which now boasts 42 pieces -- with "Joe Naper" and "Spirit of the American Navy" sculptures to be installed in the fall.
Bobosky's other community leadership has included: opening his law practice in October 1983 at 50 W. Chicago Ave. in downtown Naperville; being a member of CAN/DO, the Central Area Naperville Development Organization from 1983 until the organization ended; serving on the board of directors for Edward Hospital for six years during the late 1980s; serving on the board of Little Friends for six years and chairing the board for one year; serving as president of the Jaycees in 1975; serving as chairman of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce in 1997; co-chairing the Educare Ball for Illinois Benedictine College (now Benedictine University); co-chairing the Naperville Heritage Society Antiques Show; and proposing the concept of Oktoberfest, with Joyce Lenert and Art Davis, which became Rotary Club of Naperville's primary fundraiser for many years.
Although Bobosky is receiving this lifetime achievement award, he said he prefers to view it as a "midlife achievement award" because he has so many more ideas to share with the community.
Several other Rotarians received awards at the installation dinner. Adam Parks was named Rookie of the Year. Bill Anderson, Hilary Decent, Gerry Cassioppi, Mary Lynn Hoffer and Hunter Byington received Service Above Self awards, and Pat Merryweather-Arges and John Gallagher each received Rotarian of the Year awards. A Special Award was presented to Bill and Karen Garlough for their leadership in developing the club's successful Soup's On! fundraiser. Outgoing President Frank Slocumb received the President's Award for the club's accomplishments during 2012-2013, in which the club had received six recognition awards for excellence during the district conference. Merryweather-Arges presented the Rotary Club of Naperville with its 18th consecutive Rotary International Presidential Citation, a rare achievement for any club.
For information about the Rotary Club of Naperville, visit napervillerotary.clubexpress.com.