Rotary International Service Above Self Awards

Service Above Self Award Committee

PDG Joe Scandariato, Sr., Chair

Contact PDG Joe

Download application here - Deadline to be announced

The Award
Established in 1991 by the RI Board of Directors, the Service Above Self Award is Rotary International’s highest honor for an individual Rotarian who embodies Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self”, with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others. This is an internationally competitive award, with a maximum of 150 recipients selected worldwide each year, and only one per district.

Eligible Nominees
Active Rotarians in good standing may be nominated, except the following: district governors, immediate past district governors, district governors-elect, RI Foundation Trustees, Foundation Trustee-designate, past Foundation Trustee (within two years of having held that position), RI directors, past RI directors (within two years of having held that position), and RI directors-elect. An individual may not nominate him/herself for the award and an individual may only receive the award once. Nominees' service rendered through Rotary must have been on a continuing basis.

Selection Process

Each July 1st, a call goes out to every Rotary club in District 7510 to nominate eligible candidates. We ask for one nominee per club. Nominations are due by Aug 1st of each year. The District Committee collects the nominations, selects the best candidate, interviews that candidate, polishes up the application, and submits the form before the end of August to RI with the Governor’s signature. The RI Deadline is September 1st. 

District Committee
The members of the committee include the current sitting District Governor, the immediate Past District Governor, and any of the previous award recipients who wish to participate. The Committee meets during the month of August each Rotary year.

Click here for the Service Above Self Award Past Recipients page.


2015-2016 Service Above Self Award Recipient

PDG Marsha Carldon

Then-District Governor Hal Daume and PDG Marsha Carldon pose with Marsha's Rotary International Service Above Self Award while Marsha's husband, Jay Carldon, looks on. The award was presented at the 2015-2016 District Assembly.

Service Above Self Award 2016

The RI Board of Directors awarded only 130 awards this year out of 384 nominations from 536 districts. Less than one third of the districts worldwide have a recipient, so it is truly a rare and special award. To win this award, you need to do hands-on service in Rotary, show you are a good person, and provide service in other areas of your life.

Legendary Rotarian Marsha Carldon received the Rotary International SERVICE ABOVE SELF AWARD at our 2015-2016 District Assembly.

PDG Joe Scandariato (l) and District Governor Hal Daume met informally with Marsha and her husband and past Rotarian, Jay, at their home (see photo) to let her know she’s now in the rarified air of only 130 Rotarians out of more than 1.2 million to be so honored this year.

Marsha now joins nine District 7510 Rotarians who, beginning in 2009, have also been so honored. They are: Marcia Bossart, Nick Carnevale, Yeddi Dennis, Bill Henderson, Tulsi Maharjan, Suresh Patel, Augustine Pushparaj, Cheruvasseri Ravindranth, and most recently Edna Stout, creator of EarlyAct.

Marsha was born in Madison, Wisconsin—the daughter and granddaughter of Rotarians. She later served as a Corpsman in the United States Navy, and went on to a career in advertising and marketing. A highly accomplished pianist and teacher, she has performed at many All-Faiths Services at District Conferences, among other venues. Marsha’s level of commitment as a Rotarian and other avenues of service goes supremely beyond the pale of the ordinary.

After having served as President of the Mountainside Rotary Club, Marsha went on to became District Governor in 2002-03 (she is one of just five women to have served in this capacity in the District’s 96-year history). Later, she served as District Trainer for five years and District Foundation Chair for three. She has also chaired or co-chaired a huge number of important district-level committees, including Eat, Drink and Share; Annual Giving; four District Conferences; Group Study Exchange; Long-Range Planning; Care & Share; PolioPlus; Membership; Public Relations; Gift of Hope; Project Literacy; and the balance of this list is close to endless!

Beyond Rotary, Marsha is Past President of the Junior Women’s Club of Plainfield and Past Vice President of the NJ Pop Warner League, and is Past State Chair for Al-Anon, among much, much more. 

Marsha has high ethical values, volunteered both inside and outside of Rotary, and, in furthering the Rotary Mission worldwide, is an inspiring role model. She certainly exemplifies Service Above Self.