Cliff Dochterman has spent his life involved in service. With such a grand legacy in life comes much that each of us can learn from.
Alan: Welcome back I’m here today with Cliff Dotcherman. Cliff, welcome to today’s show.
Cliff: Thank You
Alan: Cliff, give me some of your background of the pathway that you followed in life and as your looking back and reflecting, what do you want people to know you for?
Cliff: Well I’ve spent my major career in higher education. I worked at the University of California at Berkley for some 20 years. And also The University of the Pacific over in Stockton California or another 20 years. And in between with the national education commission of the states where we consulted with governors and state legislators on educational issues around the country. So that’s where I spent most of my professional life, was as a teacher for 9 years and then as an administrator.
Alan: What helped you to decide that you wanted to work in higher education?
Cliff: Well actually I went to Boalt Law School at the University of California as my graduate program and then decided that I wasn’t that strongly interested in practicing law. But that I had this desire of working with young people on college campuses and I had an opportunity to go to work, they gave me a job for a year and it lasted for 20 years at the University of California. So that was a change in my career in that early period of time but I’ve found it’s a very satisfying life to spend it in the atmosphere of a college or university.
Alan: I would imagine working with students at that age in life, in college, their getting ready to spend the rest of their life doing some type of career, must have given you the opportunity to give some of these students some type of direction in life?
Cliff: Well, I hope so. It’s an interesting opportunity to be around young people. I think your own ideas change as life changed, as the styles change as the ethics changed, as various types of activities change,
Alan: I would imagine, working with students at this stage in their life as an education administrator it must have been really rewarding.
Cliff: Yes, it certainly has. A college campus has a cycle. And each year you bring in a whole bunch of new students. And you have a chance to watch them grow. It’s really a satisfying thing to see some students who come as probably the greenest students that ever walked on the campus and a year or two later, they’re running for student office or their taking a lead in an athletic program, or drama or music program and you see them bloom and it’s really a great satisfaction. Because as an administrator, your thoughts change. I thought I could never get use to some of the changes that happen, the costs of education, the demands of funding for an university to keep going. So all of these are changes within 45 years that I saw on the campus. These were basic changes but the greatest change was in the students. Young men and woman that just grew and you could almost see them grow from ear to ear. And really becoming responsible people, ready to go out and take a job, if they could find one at that time.
Alan: Are there any standout of kids that you’ve followed through life?
Cliff: Oh yes, there’s a number of students that I hear from, from time to time. Get a greeting card from. I see them in business and profession from time to time I go to meetings around the state. To go to activities they’ll come, “Remember me, you were me advisor when I was a freshman” or something like that. Always very rewarding.
Alan: I’m visiting here today with Cliff Dochterman, Cliff has spent his entire career in higher education and working with individual, helping them get ready in life. Cliff when we come back I want to talk about your distinguished career in Rotary, where I understand you had an opportunity to serve as the International rotary president.
Cliff: Yes I did.
Alan: We’re running up against the break time.
Alan: So we’ll take a quick break and be right back after these messages.
Alan: Welcome back, I’ve been visiting here with Cliff Dochterman about Cliff’s career in higher education but along the way you decided to follow another path and become the international Rotary president. Tell me about your involvement in Rotary, how did you first get involved?
Cliff: Well Rotary of course is a volunteer activity in your life. I was in Berkley working at the University of California when a friend of mine invited me to join the Berkley rotary club. I was young, I didn’t know much about a service club but I was just so pleased to be invited to join with at that time the leaders of the community. Virtually every business and profession was represented in the rotary cub and to be able to go to lunch once a week and sit beside the men and women who were really leading the community. It was a great privilege, I thought it was a great opportunity to get to know people. And gradually as you get involved you realized that there’s more than just the fellowship and friendship. There’s opportunities to serve and if you work hard enough, maybe you can make a difference in the lives of people in your community and as it stretches around the world.
Alan: I’ve herd different numbers of the number of Rotarians today. On one account someone said there’s 1.2 million?
Cliff: Yes, there are 1.2 million Rotarians around the world. And there’s about 34,000 communities that have rotary clubs. Probably rotary we would say is the most international organization with rotary clubs in 200 different countries. And geographical territories around the world. All dedicated to the idea that serving other people, helping others and the idea that if you do it with friendship and because of that friendship you reach out trying to help other people.
Alan: You took a pathway that led you into the president of rotary international. How did that come about?
Cliff: When I first joined I thought I was going to lunch once a week. But the more as you get involved, I was finally the club president and then became the district governor of an area in northern California. Then one thing led to another and I became more involved. And I was selected as an international director. From that point on your eligible to be the world president of the organization. And I was selected in 1992.
Alan: How has rotary benefited you in your life?”
Cliff: Well Rotary was given me a whole insight in the opportunities as I traveled the world. Probably well over 120 countries. And seen opportunities and seen that there are places each of us can serve. There are people that need us. And there are so many activities. I remember when I was the world president, going over to Croatia and trying to help the refugees from the Bosnia, civil war going on. A newspaper reporter in Croatia, asked, “Who are you helping? Are you helping the Serbs the Muslims or the Bosnians or the Croatians who are you helping?” I said, “I don’t know, when you see a little child that’s hungry and cold and freezing you don’t ask their religion or their national origin, you help them because you care. And because they need somebody. Rotary is that kind of organization. We reach out to try to touch and to make the world a little bit better.
Alan: I’m visiting here today with Cliff Dochterman, Cliff has a distinguished career in higher education and along the way he became the international rotary president. Cliff, we’re running up against the break. When we come back I want to get more into your involvement with the boy scouts. I understand that they now have an award called Cliff Dochterman award and we’ll get more into that after we come back right after these messages.
Alan: Welcome back, I’m here today with Cliff Dotcherman and we’ve been visiting about the years of Cliff’s life where he’s spent a successful career in higher education and also served as a rotary president for the International Rotary Organization. 1.2 million members in 1982.
Alan: 92, excuse me, 1992 and Cliff you be also been involved with the boy scouts.
Alan: tell me how you got involved with the scouting organization?
Cliff: Well, I had a brother who was a year and a half older than I and he was in they boy scouts I could hardly wait till I became a boy scout. This is back in the depression years and I was growing up in Ohio. So on my 12th birthday, a neighbor gave me the 50 cents so I could get a boy scout membership and I became a tenderfoot scout but I was going to catch up with my brother. I went to summer camp, I went on every hike and everything-trying to achieve the rank of eagle scout and I finally reached that before my 14th birthday. It was a great achievement so I actually started spending summers working at Boy Scout camps for year after year and taking a leadership. Eventually as I had my own son and he wanted to be a scout and I took an active roll as president of the scout council and working on the national jamborees as the leader of the western region I was in charge of some five thousand boys at the national jamboree, it was a pretty good responsibility.
Alan: What year were you over the Western region?
Cliff: I was involved in the mid seventy’s, ‘73
Alan: Faragate State Park?
Cliff: The one that I went to first was Marine State Park up in Pennsylvania and then to Apie Hill in Virginia. So I was the leader of the Western Region.
Alan: Getting your eagle before your 14th birthday, no small feet.
Cliff: Well when you can join at 12 its just working right along because there’s time and sequences, its about as early a time as anyone can do it.
Alan: So as you’ve been involved with scouting and throughout the years you’ve been working with youth most your life.
Cliff: Yes, that’s right.
Alan: I understand that there’s a Cliff Dotcherman award that the boy scouts now award and can you give me some background how that came about?
Cliff: Well this award was established on the centennial of Rotary international for Rotarians, men and women who have taken a special interest in scouting programs and it was established in recognition for people involved in Rotary but combine that with their service to youth through the scouting program. It’s rather embarrassing, I have to say to present a certificate with your own picture on it but it’s a very nice reconition and I’m plased to know that a lot of men and women have received that award. I was at a Rotary International convention in Salt Lake City a few years ago and I was walking down the hall and a man came up to me and said, “Cliff Dotcherman,” looked at my name badge, “Cliff Dotcherman,” he said, “I have a scouting award called the Cliff Dochterman award, I thought you must’ve been dead years ago.” But it was a honor to have an award named after you. To recognize the people who reach out to serve the young people of their community through scouting.
Alan: I just pulled up a press release that was handed to me as we were doing todays taping and it talked about Savanah morning news did a press releace that the Savanah rotary club honored Tommy Carduff, the scout executive of the Coastal Georgia Boy Scouts with the Cliff Dotcherman award. So this is not just into a local area, this is throughout the United States.
Cliff: It was originally established by a group called the Fellowship of Rotary Scouters. Rotarians, men and women who take an active role in helping youth through scouting.
Alan: Now Cliff, as you’ve served throughout your life, you’ve seen a lot of different things. What do you want to be remembered for when everything is said and done?
Cliff: Well I don’t know if I have any big desires I just have a feeling that I would like to be someone who would like to be remembered as someone who did a job when it was there to do. I often talk to kids, the biggest thing you’ll learn in life is do a job when it has to be done, when it has to be done weather you want to do it or not, somebody has to do it and you ought to reach out because that’s your responsibility as a responsible individual. So I’d like kids to take a belief that they can do something that they can become much more than they ever think they can be. And if that’s their achievement then it’s a great satisfaction. It’s always a great satisfaction to see young people that I knew when they were going to college or been in my classes or something of that nature, to see them successful in their life, having good families, having good children and raising people in a responsible manner. That’s the greatest satisfaction anyone can have I believe.
Alan: So it seems to be focused on family and doing your best through life.
Cliff: I think so, because everybody has to build their own life but you have to have a basis and you hope that comes from tour family, your parents, your church, your scouting group from your school, your coaches your music teacher all of these have an impact on young people. And I think that if you have a chance to be one of these kinds of leaders in your lifetime is a rare opportunity and a very rewarding type of career.
Alan: If people want to get involved in helping the scouting organization, what advice would you have for them?
Cliff: Well there are opportunities for both men and women in the scouting program. It can be as simple as helping out in a local scout troop. To be a leader, to be an advisor, to help with merit badge counseling, it can be reaching out into leadership positions, being scout masters den families. It can be on an executive board of a scout council, working in summer camps. Supporting the scouting with financial contributions and support. Or even gifts in time at scout camps or scout organizations that they need. So there are many opportunities, you can get involved at virtually any level you can imagine. It is a very satisfactory experience to know you’re touching and hoping that your effecting the lives of young people so they’ll be growing up in responsible citizenship.
Alan: I’ve been visiting here today with Cliff Dotcherman, he’s had a aspiring career in higher education but also more than that, giving back. Serving with Rotary International and also the scout organization, Cliff thank you for being on today’s show.
Cliff: My pleasure to be with you.
Alan: We’ll be right back after these messages.