Rotary International

Rotary International President

R. Gordon R. McInally is president of Rotary International

R. Gordon R. McInally

RI President 2023 - 2024
Rotary Club of South Queensferry
West Lothian, Scotland

R. Gordon R. McInally is president of Rotary International. He was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh and at the University of Dundee, where he earned his graduate degree in dental surgery. He operated his own dental practice in Edinburgh until 2016. Gordon was chair of the East of Scotland branch of the British Paedodontic Society and has held various academic positions. He has also served as a presbytery elder, chair of the Queensferry parish congregational board, and commissioner to the general assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Gordon joined Rotary in 1984 at age 26. A member of the Rotary Club of South Queensferry, he has served as president and vice president of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI). He has also served RI as a director and on several committees, including as an adviser to the 2022 Houston Convention Committee and chair of the Operations Review Committee.

Gordon says he looks forward to working with members to build new Rotary clubs and groups. “My vision is that Rotary should exist everywhere in a style to suit everyone who has the desire to be part of us and to help us do good in the world,” he says.

Gordon is a patron of the UK-based nonprofit Hope and Homes for Children and led a partnership between that organization and RIBI to support children in Rwanda who had been orphaned in the genocide there. He is a patron of Trade-Aid, an initiative of the Rotary Club of Grantham Kesteven, Lincolnshire, England, that provides sustainable humanitarian aid to individuals, families, and businesses in the developing world. He is also an ambassador for Bipolar UK, a national mental health organization.

In his free time, Gordon enjoys rugby, good food and wine, and stick dressing, the traditional Scottish craft of making walking sticks.

Gordon describes The Rotary Foundation as “the fuel that provides the energy to do Rotary service.” He and his spouse, Heather, also a Rotarian, are Paul Harris Fellows, Major Donors, and Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation. They are also members of the Bequest Society.

Gordon wishes to dedicate his presidency to making the world a better place for his granddaughters, Ivy and Florence, to live and thrive.

Presidential Initiatives

Prioritizing Mental Health

Talking about mental illness and emotional health may feel uncomfortable, but it’s vital to the well-being of our global community. Creating a space where it’s safe to address these issues will help provide a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive environment for everyone who interacts with us.

In 2023-24, Gordon will encourage clubs and districts to undertake activities that:

Erase any stigma associated with discussions of emotional well-being
Raise awareness of mental health needs
Improve access to mental health services
Building Peace Through Virtual Exchanges

Rotary has a long history of working for peace through personal connections, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to do that face-to-face. Inspired by what we’ve learned during this time, Gordon will encourage districts to incorporate virtual components into more of their programs, events, and activities. By using innovative technologies to make connections, we give more people the opportunity to experience our global community.

Adding or maintaining these components in Rotary Youth Exchanges, New Generations Service Exchanges, Rotary Friendship Exchanges, and other programs in 2023-24 will:

Give members and participants new ways to experience other cultures, make new friends, and broaden their global awareness
Make membership more accessible to people with time, health, or financial considerations
Build stronger intercultural communication and understanding, and ultimately foster more stable and peaceful communities
Empowering Girls

Gordon will continue the initiative launched by 2021-22 RI President Shekhar Mehta and maintained by 2022-23 RI President Jennifer Jones that focused on empowering girls and women around the world. We encourage members to keep finding ways to improve the health, well-being, education, and economic security of girls.

History of Rotary International

The Rotary Club of Chicago, the world’s first service club, was formed on February 23rd, 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to capture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The Rotary name derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of members.

The popularity of Rotary spread, and within a decade, clubs were chartered from San Francisco to New York to Winnipeg. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been formed on six continents. The organization adopted the Rotary International name a year later.

Along with the growth of Rotary, its mission expanded beyond just serving club members’ professional and social interests. Rotarians began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The organization’s dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its motto: Service Above Self.

By July 1925, Rotary had grown to more than 2,000 clubs and an estimated 108,000 members. The organization’s distinguished reputation attracted presidents, prime ministers, and a host of other luminaries to its ranks — among them author Thomas Mann, diplomat Carlos P. Romulo, humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, and composer Jean Sibelius.

Find out more about Rotary by visiting the Rotary International web site.