TRANSITIONING FROM A FRATERNITY
For two years, the Carthage College Circle K Club existed alone. But on March 26, 1949, the University of Western Ontario became the second Circle K Club to charter.Carthage College and the University of Western Ontario were soon joined by the LouisianaPolytechnic Institute on May 13, 1949. Circle K gained momentum and grew rapidly throughout the United States; sixteen more clubs chartered in 1950.
With the formation of Circle K clubs, Kiwanis International established a SpecialCommittee on Circle K Clubs in 1952. Andy Hodges of Carthage, Illinois, was appointed chairman of the committee. The committee brought about following changes in the objectives of Circle K:
To emphasize the advantages of the American way of life;
To provide educational opportunities for worthy young men;
To encourage participation in group activities;
To promote good fellowship and high scholarship;
To develop aggressive citizenship and the spirit of service for the improvement of all human relationships;
To afford useful training in the social graces and personality development;
To encourage and promote the following ideals;
To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life;
To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships;
To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business, and professional standards;
To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable citizenship;
To provide through Circle K Clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities;
To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism, which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, and patriotism and good will.
The motto of the organization became the same as that of Kiwanis International: “We Build.”
By1953, Circle K clubs were located at 57 different (upper level) institutions with a total membership of 1,425. During this time, discussion over the possible formation of an International Circle K organization began to increase.Chairman Hodges was able to arrange a meeting at the 1953 Kiwanis InternationalConvention to discuss the formation of an International organization and to elect temporary officers for Circle K International.
Twenty-five Circle K members, representing fifteen clubs, along with several KiwanisInternational Board members met June 22-24, 1953. At the end of the meeting, Kenneth B. Creasy from Ohio Wesleyan University emerged as the first President of Circle K. A full board, consisting of a Vice President, Executive Secretary/Treasurer, and eleven Trustees, was also elected to serve as the temporary officers of Circle K.
Although CKI was moving closer to attaining International status, CKI primarily remained a local Kiwanis activity at the urging of J. Frank McCabe, the Director of Key Club International. McCabe also handled the Circle K procedures at the Chicago General Office of Kiwanis International. His conservative stance allowed Circle K to develop a definite sense of direction and contributed greatly to a strong base of support from Kiwanis before becoming an International organization.
At the Kiwanis International Convention, held during May of 1954, an attempt was made by the Kiwanis Special Committee on Circle K Clubs to help Circle K International gain recognition as an International organization. The attempt failed. However, a temporary Circle K organization was established as Circle K members prepared themselves for their first annual convention, which was held October 17-19,1954, at Carthage College.
One hundred and fourteen members, representing 35 Circle K Clubs, attended the convention. After the elections, Eugene C. Alford, Jr., from Georgia Institute of Technology, was elected the second President of Circle K.
Under President Alford, Circle K had the first meeting of an International Board. In addition, Circle K experienced unbelievable growth under Alford’s leadership.Three days after his election, President Alford sent the following resolution to the Kiwanis International Board as he attempted to establish Circle K International:
“The Board of Trustees of Kiwanis International recognizes the fact that a group of Circle K men met together at the Kiwanis International Convention in New York in June, 1953 and under the guidance of the Special International Committee on Circle K Clubs drew up a Constitution and Bylaws and set up an International organization. We further acknowledge that this organization is still working under the supervision of the Special International Committee on Circle K Clubs toward the goal of setting up a permanent organization in conjunction with the headquarters of Kiwanis and Key Club. It is the expectation of the Board that at such time as Circle K International becomes financially independent through the organization of more clubs and the strengthening of the present clubs that they will be granted official recognition by the Board of Trustees of Kiwanis International.”
Kiwanis was still concerned that the organization could not stand on its own and desired a better definition of Circle K – Kiwanis relations. For these reasons,President Alford’s resolution failed.
About this time, Kiwanis Trustee Richard B. Forde began to play an important role inCircle K’s eventual International standing. In February of 1955, with Trustee Forde’s assistance, Circle K President Alford met with the President of KiwanisInternational, Donald E. Engdahl. The result of this meeting became publicMarch 9, 1955.
“At a recent meeting of the International Board of Trustees, held in Washington, D.C., on February 18th and 19th, the following recommendation of the Board Committee on Kiwanis Youth Organizations was unanimously accepted:
Voted:That the present organization of Circle K Clubs receive International recognition and a charter from Kiwanis International at the ClevelandConvention, June of 1955, provided the International dues be $4.00 per member per year, and that a Constitution and Bylaws which have the approval of KiwanisInternational be adopted.”
Soon after the second annual Circle K Convention, held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, ballots were sent to the 140 Circle K Clubs of the United States and Canada. The ballots were to be used by the clubs in making a decision as to whether to accept or reject the proposed Constitution, Bylaws, and membership dues to be paid to the International organization. The result of the ballots was as follows: 52 voted “yes”, 27 voted “no”, and 61 clubs abstained. With these results, the Board of Trustees of Kiwanis International voted to grant official international recognition to Circle K, October 23, 1955. The dream —Circle K International — had finally come true.
At the end of the Kiwanis International administrative year in 1955, there were 156 Circle K clubs, with a membership of about 3,000. The first club to officially affiliate with Circle K International was Emory University inAtlanta, Georgia, on November 14, 1955. By May 31, 1956, Circle K International consisted of 77 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to forming new clubs, Circle K International began publishing the official magazine of the organization…THE BULLETIN. To ensure a smooth-running organization, Kiwanis International appointed Fay H. McDonald to be theDirector of Circle K International