About the Round Table
The Round Table Club of Eugene, Oregon was founded on November 20, 1912 for "the social and intellectual enjoyment of its members." Implicitly, the Club was also intended to serve as a town-gown organization, providing a forum in which citizens and members of the University of Oregon could share friendship and the opportunity for intellectual growth.
The Club Constitution limits the number of members to encourage the best forum for conversation.
The Club meets eight times a year for a social hour, a dinner, and a presentation prepared by one of the members. Over the years, the presentations have ranged from Eric Allen's speech on the history of newspapers in 1913 to Wayne Morse's analysis of the Vietnam War in the 1960s and Martha Bayless' 2009 discussion of "What's the Difference Between a Duck?"
When the Club began in 1912 the enrollment of the University of Oregon was a mere 862, the faculty numbered 45, and the population of Eugene was 12,000. In the years that have passed, Eugene and the University have grown and changed in countless ways. But the Round Table has been remarkably stable, preserving the town-gown character and pursuing the same intellectual and social goals.
The Round Table has become one of Eugene's core organizations, helping to define and preserve the culture of our community. Click here for more on the history of the Round Table.
The club celebrated its 100th anniversary with a black-tie-optional gala dinner at the Giustina Ballroom of the Ford Alumni Center at the University of Oregon on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, with retired Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers speaking on the topic, "The Round Table Club of Eugene: Into the Second Century." Click here to see a 30-minute video describing the club's first 100 years.
PEREGRINATION OF ROUND TABLE CLUB
According to Club Documents (A historical moment by David Meredith on the occasion of RTC’s moving to the Eugene Hilton, January 2008)
Here is a brief history of where the Round Table Club has met during its long history. Included are excerpts from the club's minutes; these are the dated entries.
Over the years, the the Round Table Club has met in at least ten locations. The story begins on campus.
Wednesday, November 20, 1912 "On the evening of Nov. 20, there met in Villard Hall of the University, in Edgar DeCou's classroom, [ten] gentlemen to discuss the advisability of organizing a college alumni organization."
The group met again on Monday, December 9. The minutes of that meeting lay out a constitution, though it's not mentioned whosuggested the name Round Table Club (or why).
On Tuesday, January 9, 1913, the club moved to the First Congregational Church, then on 13th Avenue, for a paper called "The Catholic Church from the Protestant Standpoint," by W. Parsons.
In February the RTC moved to the Osburn Hotel, where they met for the next 34 years, on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:15 PM.
February 11, 1913 "Moved by Mr. Clark and seconded by Mr. Hug to add to the bylaws a clause calling for adjournment of meetings at 9 PM, but moved by Mr. Spangler and seconded by Mr. Southworth to lay on table. Voted."
May 13, 1913 "According to the action at the last meeting, ladies were invited to attend the program portion of this session."
Nine meetings a year was the practice until 1936 when the Round Table season ended with its May meeting – an occasion that came to be called Ladies’ Night.
In 1947 the club moved to the University Faculty Club on 13th Avenue, where they remained for 25 years.
August 27, 1971 "Knight Shepherd suggested printing a 'best paper' for distribution at Ladies’ Night. Agreed, with some concern about cost."
October 12, 1971 "It was agreed that the club continue to meet at the Black Angus."
[No mention of when RTC had left the Faculty Club.] RTC moved to the Thunderbird Motel in the fall of 1972.
In the fall of 1973 RTC moved to the Valley River Inn, starting at 6:30 PM. A year later they instituted a 6 PM "Pre-prandial Hour" followed by dinner.
October 8 of the same year "Knight Hollis then gave an explanation of the move to the Hilton Hotel. Reasons for the move include: Valley River Inn could not accommodate the Round Table for meetings in December and May, the Rogue Room was not available in November, and they would only give six months' advance reservation.
While at the Hilton Hotel, RTC renamed “Pre-prandial Hour” as “Social Hour.”
October 1986 saw RTC move back to Valley River Inn. No explanation is provided in club records.
October 1988 saw RTC move to the Town Club. It was there, in 1996, that women were finally admitted to the Round Table.
The Town Club shut its doors December 2007, at which time RTC peregrinated onward to the Eugene Hilton .