Barbara Bice sworn in as President of Rotary Club of San Marino

PHOTO: Aaron Gil | San Marino Weekly | Barbara Bice, new President of the Rotary Club of San Marino

Hers has been a long journey that has recently resulted i the president of the Rotary Club of San marino and on Thursday, duly 13, Barbara Bice took the oath of office in front of a packed house at San marino Community Church.

Before I begin, I want to say a word about Craft Talks,” said Bice.

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Bice was addressing a subject that many Rotarians frequently dismiss. “Craft Talks” are subjects created by speakers that typically meet the needs of the speakers. They are basically an opportune for a Rotary speaker design their own presentation. Many view the crew talk as an opportunity to skip whater subject he speaker has chosen to address. Not Barbara Bice…

“As a young Rotarian I gained much from listening to the Craft Talks of older member,” said Bice.”It was a way I could connect with them and lean about them personally and professionally. And Now, from our new members, I have learned much from their CTs  about their passions  their purposes, about their career paths, their hobbies, their backgrounds and about WHY they want be members of our club.”

“Michel…Jason…Single parent. So…I am a big fan of CT’s. I do not like talking about myself.

“I would rather be the messenger than the message,” says the new president.

“But today I am both, so let me begin….a 36 year update. I have been a proud member of this club since 1987. I was born in Pasadena and moved as a child to Monrovia, where I graduated from Monrovia High School. I did my undergraduate education at The University of the Pacific in Stockton CA and NO I did not know Pete Carroll!”

I received a MASTERS  DEGREE in English from Cal State Long Beach and then began my career teaching AP English at Rolling Hills High School having been connected there by my Monrovia High School Superintendent. I married my husband in 1968, having spent over a year trying to seduce him when he was a very conscientious waterfront director at Camp Cherry Valley on Catalina Island.

Upon his graduation from USC Law School, Scott was selected to clerk for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in in Washington DC, then Earl Warren. I joined him In Washington DC and

enjoyed being part of his busy life while I tried to find work as an English teacher.  The school in Alexandria, VA had no openings in English, so I taught BOYS physical education. “No, I did not like the assignment,” she said.  “Yes, I did it because I need to work.”

Barbara and Scott returned to California in the fall of 1969 and Barbara joined the faculty at San Marino High School  teaching AP English to seniors.

“I was, at 25, only 7 years older than my students,” Barbara quipped. “Those were challenging and rewarding years. Many of those students now make their homes in our area, and I see some of them from time to time as they approach retirement! I am pleased to see here today a couple of my former students who I  have been told call themselves “survivors.”

“I just received 3 birthday cards from students in my first class who are now 70! she said. I have trouble wrapping my head around their age.”

In 1973, at the request of the high school principal Barbara moved from the classroom to establish a new college and career counseling center at the high school. There was funding from the state for programs that linked academic study with career opportunities.

“With the help of 50 parent volunteers  with whom I was blessed to work, students were able to explore career opportunities and prospective college offerings,” Bice said. “One program which we initiated through the Career Center was called

“Operation Shadow” and we recruited volunteers heavily from the San Marino Rotary without which, the program could not have succeeded.

Through the Career Center, we matched students one-on-one for a day with various working professionals and businesses.

“In addition to the many volunteers who devoted the day to mentoring interested students,

the Club sponsored lunch for all the students and business people.

That programs took 3 months to organize and was a highlight for students and Rotarians for 10 consecutive years. The program also fulfilled an important function in Rotary’s vocational service outreach efforts,” Bice explained.

With the passage of Proposition 13, support from the property tax was significantly reduced,

San Marino recognized the need to raise private donations to sustain the excellence of its Schools.

Bice then moved her office and her priorities to The District to become the first Executive Director of the San Marino Schools Foundation.

San Marino was the second district behind Beverly Hills to have such a private fundraising effort.

Parents were organized into a FUNDRAISING BOARD, and they stepped up to raise the funds needed for an outstanding educational experience for all K-12 students.

In the early days, San Marino set records that exceeded Beverly Hills. Soon other districts tried to emulate San Marino’s success.

“But they did not have what San Marino had and still boasts of today,” said Bice “EXCITED…ENERGIZED students and a parent and community population that demands excellence.

Today, funds raised by the San Marino Schools Foundation remain legendary!

From one fundraising opportunity to another.”

Barbara one day went to the Huntington Hospital in Pasadena where she was born and

where San Mario Rotary’s own Lois Matthews was a board member.

“Bice accepted the role of Director of Major Gifts.

“I must admit it was considerably more difficult to raise money for a hospital than it was for the best school district in the state. It takes relatively little money to make a big difference in education; It takes a whole lot of money to make a small difference in the medical arena,” Bice said.

“I thought that I had retired when I left Huntington, but a call in 1993 from a former Career Center volunteer provided an opportunity I could not resist,” Bice said. “I accepted the position as Director of Volunteer Services for the Rose Bowl venue for World Cup 94. With absolutely no knowledge of soccer and zero former interest, I jumped at the prospect and engaged quickly with the Pasadena venue staff of 10 who would coordinate the games. The Rose Bowl would be one of 7 venues throughout the country and WE would host the finals. It would be the largest WORLD CUP event since the inception of the games in 1932. My two-year responsibility was to form a group of 12 volunteers to coordinate advertising, …recruiting, ….training,…. feeding,… clothing…. positioning… and rewarding over 2,000 community volunteers,” sad Bice.

“It was the job of a lifetime, and I was paid to do it!” she said.

By the way,  the games were the most financially successful in the event’s history! I still have many friends as a result of the close and meaningful connections during my two years of work for World Cup.

My husband of 55-1/2 years recently retired from the USC Law School, where he taught for over fifty years, twenty of which he served as dean.

“I was deeply involved with his law students, especially when he was dean,” said Bice.

“We hosted the entire first year class for dinner every fall, and I was particularly interested in the students who wanted to pursue public service careers. “I was deeply gratified when last year the school named its Public Interest Law Foundation in my honor.

My interest in education also led to serving as a trustee of Scripps College in Claremont for thirteen years and to current membership on the Board of Muse/ique, an organization that provides important opportunities to learn and enjoy what great music has to offer.

Muse/ique is unique in that it partners with over 20 organizations to provide music and musicians to organizations whose members do not have access to music education and enjoyment.

“Scott and I do not have children of our own, but over the course of our careers we have touched the lives of over 6,500 kids whom we count as our extend family,” Bice said. As you might know, I am no stranger to Rotary. I grew up in a Rotary family. My father, who was a broker at Crowell-Weeden in Pasadena. He boasted proudly of his 17 years of perfect attendance at the Pasadena Rotary Club.

My mom was an active “Rotary Ann.”

For many years of course, women could be “Anns” but not “Andies” as the men members were called. This changed, when the Supreme Court ruled that civil rights law precluded the exclusion of women.

In compliance, San Marino began to invite women. Due, in large part to my long association through Operation Shadow, and to my relationship with mentor, Bill Steele…..YES, that Bill Steele of teacher Mini-grant fame, I became the first woman to join this club.

“Bill told me the members really considered me “one of the boys, so that is how I first tested the water here. I have been gratified by the club’s support of female membership since that court decision now so many years ago. It is hard to believe that it was once worth litigating in the Supreme Court.


PHOTO: Aaron Gil | San Marino Weekly | Barbara Bice, new President of the Rotary Club of San Marino

I believe that I have found my membership in Rotary so rewarding because the ethos of the organization so well matches the theme of the my career and volunteer activities. That theme simply is this: making personal connections that help make society better make for a rewarding life. Thus teaching…counseling… raising money…. recruiting volunteers… all involve CONNECTING  with people for purposes that make lives better.  And, to me, that is the great ethic of Rotary. Coming together, connecting to and with others to provide “Service Above Self.”

And speaking of people who have lived the Rotary motto, and who have throughout last year have demonstrated “Service Above Self,”

Bice then announced the 2024 theme of Rotary according to our International President Gordon McInally, “to create hope in the world.”

Bice then I produced the 2023-24 slate of officers for the Rotary Club of San Marino.

She also thanked 2023-24 President Rob Feidler who last year oversaw the distribution of  $165, 814 to 41 tax exempt organizations and /or teachers and individuals.