On June 30th, 2010, the Ithaca Rotary Club officially welcomed our new club president, Joanne Lamoureux. The Pass the Gavel program included remarks and presentations from members and past presidents.
President Janet began by sharing her thoughts about the successes of the club during her tenure as President, calling us all "cock-eyed optimists" just like her, and our incoming club president, Joanne Lamoureux:

Fellow Rotarians, one year ago, I stood before you as your new president, full of ambition, ideas, and goals. I enjoined you to find your place in Rotary. I wanted each of you to be the best you can be, to be fully engaged in the work of Rotary, to bring your best selves to our weekly meetings, to contribute to the work of the club to the best of your ability, to share your dreams and ideas, to say yes when asked, and above all, to remember that Rotary originated as a movement that not only advocated service above self, social change and business ethics but also squarely endorsed fun and fellowship as well.

Over the past twelve months, I have seen our Rotary values of service, fellowship, leadership, integrity and diversity in action. I have had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful engaging speakers, guests, ambassadorial scholars, exchange students and their families, scholarship winners, group study exchange visitors, those who have been recognized for pride of ownership or pride of workmanship. I have met an amazing young college freshman who single handedly restarted our Rotaract club at Ithaca College.

I have met our Rotary International President John Kenny and have had coffee at Manos Diner with the presidents of our five other local Rotary clubs. I have presided over board meetings, handed out chicken bbq and helped sort tons of clothes. I have indulged my love of books and reading at your expense. I have been to Birmingham and Binghamton, Montreal and Rochester, Homer and Owego on Rotary related business.

What I know now is this: I am a cock-eyed optimist and so are you. You believe in doing good, one person at a time, one shelter box at a time, one polio vaccine at a time. You are idealists, loyal to the idea that a service club as old as Rotary, with our ancient and sometimes clumsy traditions, still remains a viable force for changing the world. You, fellow Rotarians, will be the ones who can say "we eradicated polio from the face of the earth". We built latrines, dug water wells, and brought solar ovens, mosquito netting and medical help to tens of thousands of people around the world-people who we will never meet but who will always be grateful to Rotary.

But I think it is more accurate to say that the members of our club, the Ithaca Rotary Club, are intelligent and thoughtful idealists. You come from a community steeped in the values of community service and that value not only enriches our club but challenges us to do more-to be bigger, bolder and better than ever before.

We also come from a community that values innovation and that value is one that guarantees that our club will continue to change and evolve, that we will take strategic steps to do this in a positive and inclusive way, that the voices of all club members are heard, respected and valued.

Your next president is also a cock-eyed optimist, a person with a can-do attitude, a great sense of humor, a thoughtful and intelligent idealist, who will lead our club with considerable skill and charm. She has offered me wise advice and counsel in the past year. She has been a friend and a partner in leading our club and I want to thank her for that.

It has been an honor and a joy to have served as your club president. Thanks for the memories.

Nancy Potter then presented her with a Past President pin and badge, as well as a few momentos from the club, including a card, a NY Yankees stuffed bear, Yankees embroidered towel and fan guide, and 2 tickets for 2 NY Yankees games.    

Nancy went on to begin getting acquainted with our new President, Joanne Lamoureux. She also presented Joanne with a gift from the Museum of American History's exhibit. Kelly Damm and Lenore Schwager led an abridged history of Joanne's life, with piano accompaniment from Bill Cowdery, sharing with the club some of her favorite things: her family, her employees, Mr. Potato Head, and shoes. An accompanying slideshow of images of both her and her favorite things had the club oohing and awwwwwing.

Gary Stewart    then shared some "serious commentary," including an award for Rotary's all-time most improved comedienne - Janet Steiner. He noted that Joanne, by her very name, classes up the joint. In a sea of Bakers, Potters, and Browns, the name Lamoureaux brings with it all the class that Joanne herself embodies. He also presented her with a poster for the current exhibit on one of her favorite authors, Mark Twain.

Nancy called to the podium Joanne, her husband David, David's mother Therese, and her children, Michael, Jeffrey and Katie for a photo op.

Jim Fogel shared the story of Joanne's role as the district's Millionth Paul Harris Fellow, and then recognized Joanne's daughter Kate as a Paul Harris Fellow.

The Rotary Chorus then sang a song entitled "Pack and Ship" (to the tune of "Bye Bye Blackbird"), lamenting the loss of Joanne's free time.

Bill then played a processional tune to lead all past club presidents into the hall, followed by Joanne for her official installation as the club president for 2010-11. Janet presented Joanne with her president badge and passed the gavel onto her!

Joanne summed up the program with "You guys rock," then took photos of the entire club from the podium. Despite her usual tendencies to be obsessive, Joanne was happy to wing it. She thanked her family for coming a long way and her "other kids" for closing the store to come to today's program. She ended with a note that, because she is bad at pomp and circumstance, she has no theme for her year, so she rang the bell and said goodbye!