Speaker Date Topic
Meet District 6250 Governor Dr. Michelle McGrath Sep 28, 2023

Michelle McGrath, Ph. D. joined 528 Rotarians around the globe when she became District Governor of District 6250. A member of the Rotary Club of Madison Dr. McGrath is an educator and community leader with more than twenty-seven years of professional experience. Currently the Executive Director of the Waunakee Community Cares Coalition, she has been a teacher, coach, administrator, college professor and a non-profit executive.  Michelle is a published author and speaks nationally about her research on “The Urgency of Youth Leadership”. Recently selected by Brava Magazine as one of Madison’s Women to Watch she encourages all of us, especially youth, to live a fearless and fulfilled life.

DG Michelle has previously served as District trainer, RYLA Chair, as well as President of her home Club, Rotary Club of Madison, one of the largest in the Rotary world. She is married and is the mother of four grown children.
Economic Update: Taggert J. Brooks, Ph. D. Oct 05, 2023

TJ Brooks was named the dean of UW-La Crosse’s College of Business Administration after filling the role on an interim basis for nearly two years.

Brooks was selected after a national search and interview process that spanned much of the current academic year. His official start was April 1, 2022.

“As the interim dean, I was always careful when working with faculty and staff to make decisions for the organization that didn't handcuff the next dean of the CBA,” Brooks says. “The thing I'm looking forward to the most is being able to take the handcuffs off and help the college make some important strategic decisions. Our future is bright, and I'm honored to be a part of it.”

Brooks joined UWL in 1999 and has served as a professor and chair in the Economics and Finance departments. He was named interim dean in July 2020, succeeding Laura Milner.

The past two years have been challenging, he says, particularly due to COVID-19. As the CBA and local businesses regain a sense of normalcy, he says he’s excited to see the progress they will make.

“The first priority for the CBA, like every organization coming out of the pandemic, is to take a moment to pause, collect ourselves and renew our commitment to this organization, the students, the community and each other,” he explains. “As we find our center, we can begin to reimagine how we will work, teach and learn in the future. And importantly, how we will prepare our students for the world of work they will soon enter.”

Professor of Economics Mary Hamman, who chaired the search committee, says the group selected Brooks in part because he is “data driven and inquisitive, with a desire to lead the CBA as a partner with the campus and the community.”

Brooks notes a number of exciting recent developments within the CBA.

The college recently moved into newly renovated, state-of-the-art Wittich Hall. It also celebrated its 50th year on campus in 2021 — an opportune time to reflect on the past and look to the future.

“As we begin the next 50 years, the college has the opportunity to define what the future of the college looks like, both for our students and ourselves, and for the community,” he says. “This is an exciting time for faculty to be able to create or innovate what those student experiences are, and to contribute to new knowledge through their research and practice.”

Inbound Youth Exchange Student: Jaakko Oct 12, 2023

The Rotary Club of La Crosse is sponsoring Inbound Youth Exchange Student Jaakko for the 2023-2024 school year!

Jaakko will tell us about his family and friends and share some of the customs, interests and hobbies that take place in his home country of Finland.

Jaakko is a student at Central High School in the School District of La Crosse and is currently living with his first host family, the Restels.

In addition to his trip to La Crosse this year, he's traveled to Mexico, Vietnam and Iceland.

Jim Salmo coordinates our Youth Exchange student's schedule with his host families, as well as the background check process required for Rotarians to spend time alone with Jaako.  Please contact Jim if you'd like to invite Jaakko along to one or more events this year!  Jim Salmo

Examples of outings that Jaako might enjoy:

  • If you are a musician, consider inviting Jaakko to a concert or jam session as he loves music and plays the electric guitar.
  • If you or your family enjoy hockey or ice skating in the winter, you may wish to invite him along as he enjoys and plays ice hockey.

Inbound Youth Exchange Officer: Jim Salmo

Inbound Youth Exchange Counselors: Julia Behrenbeck and Hope Hembd

Committee Members: Jack Haase, Hope Hembd, Cari Mathwig Ramseier, Eva Marie Restel, Jim Salmo, Jamie Schloegel, Anne Snow  


Humanitarian Committee: Peter Schaller Oct 19, 2023
Classification Talk: Tashyra "Shy" Jackson Oct 26, 2023
Rotary Leadership Series: Katie Harbarth Nov 02, 2023
Speaker will join the meeting virtually.
Speaker will join the meeting virtually.

Katie Harbarth is the CEO and Co-founder of Anchor Change which focuses on global issues related to democracy, elections and civic engagement online.

She is the former Public Policy Director at Facebook and testified before Congress regarding concerns about the algorithms driving Facebook.

Katie has developed publications on her leadership journey, including the phase as a whistle blower at Facebook.

Ms. Harbarth grew up in Wisconsin, is a graduate of UW-Madison in Journalism and a member of the Advisory Council of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin. 

Additional Information: https://www.anchorchange.com

Rotary Leadership Series
Rotary is a renowned organization, committed to making life-changing improvements for people world-wide.

It is accustomed to assuming a leadership role in this effort.

It also recognizes that leadership development is an ongoing endeavor.

As a result, nine Rotary clubs in Wisconsin and Minnesota have banded together to form the Rotary Leadership Series

The series involves featured speakers from around the country, providing insight and information about various aspects of leadership.

We seek speakers who are: a) experienced in leadership, b) champions for a particular cause or purpose, and/or c) emerging “next generation“ leaders. Ideally, their message can be connected to the mission of Rotary.

The Rotary Leadership Series is designed for the members of the nine La Crosse-area Rotary clubs and their guests.

The series is also promoted to area business organizations and higher education institutions.

There is no cost for virtual attendance.

The Rotary Foundation: Joe Ruskey Nov 09, 2023

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.

  • Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.
  • With your help, we can make lives better in your community and around the world.

The Rotary Foundation helps Rotary members to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace by improving health, providing quality education, improving the environment, and alleviating poverty.

What impact can one donation have?

  • For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected from polio.
  • $50 can provide clean water to help fight waterborne illness.
  • $500 can launch an antibullying campaign and create a safe environment for children.

Rotary Foundation: https://www.rotary.org/en/about-rotary/rotary-foundation

No Meeting (Holiday) Nov 23, 2023
No Meeting
No Meeting
Classification Talk: Emily Onsayger Nov 30, 2023
Children at Play: Kristofer Rolfhus, Ph.D. Dec 07, 2023

Dr. Kris Rolfhus is a Chemistry & Biochemistry Professor at UW-La Crosse where he leads a team of student researchers focused on collecting vital data about the safety of play surfaces and the possibility of children ingesting trace metals such as lead while at play.

They collaborate with community members through SPACE and Thriving Earth Exchange and conducted Citizen Science during Earth Fair which allowed for community participation in the sampling process.

The group's goal is to provide valuable insights that promote safer playgrounds and protect the well-being of children in our communities.

Winter Wonderland Youth Talent Showcase Dec 14, 2023

Area youth will warm the chilly winter air by sharing their gifts of merriment and song during the Rotary Club of La Crosse's annual talent showcase.

Special thanks to Katie Berkedal and Alex Attardo for organizing our program again this year.

No Meeting (Holiday) Dec 21, 2023
No Meeting
No Meeting
No Meeting (Holiday) Dec 28, 2023
No Meeting
No Meeting
DEI Committee Quarterly Program Jan 18, 2024
Gifts to the Rotary Foundation: Elizabeth King, JD Mar 14, 2024

Lizzy joined The Rotary Foundation as part of the Planned Giving Team in December 2022.

At Rotary, she is responsible for cultivating and administering life income agreements, donor advised funds, and estate gifts. Lizzy’s territory covers the Rocky Mountain and Plains States to the Great Lakes (Zones 26E, 27E, 28E, and 29).

Lizzy’s involvement with Rotary dates back to high school when she was a Rotary Youth Exchange Student. For a year, Lizzy lived in Santo Domingo de los Colorados, Ecuador. Her experience with Rotary as an international ambassador fueled her passion for community leadership and involvement on a global level, which is reflected in her education and career path.

Lizzy is a summa cum laude graduate of Western Michigan University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Global & International Politics. As an undergraduate, she lived in Burgos, Spain, and returned as an international studies program recruiter, encouraging peers to experience the benefits of cultural diversity through global citizenship. The Spanish Department awarded Lizzy with the Presidential Scholar, which is one of the highest academic honors at Western Michigan University. Lizzy received her law degree from Marquette University Law School, holds her law license in Wisconsin, and will soon be sworn in for Michigan. In law school, her focus was conflict resolution. She held a position as the supervisor of the Mediation Clinic and was inducted into the Pro Bono Society with over 120 hours of service. Lizzy was selected to travel to the Middle East for a specialized course in international dispute resolution. She was later recruited to participate in the 2019 International Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition in Vienna, Austria, winning best mediation strategy. Following law school, and prior to joining The Rotary Foundation, Lizzy worked as a defense attorney with Hennessy & Roach, PC. In her free time, Lizzy enjoys travelling, reading, and engaging in a variety of outdoor activities.