PROBUS clubs were first formed, in the early 1920’s in Saskatchewan, CANADA, and in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A., devoted to business and specific charitable causes apart from today’s mainstream PROBUS.
The first non-sectarian PROBUS club specifically for active retirees was formed in 1966 by the Rotary Club of Caterham, England to allow retired professionals to continue to meet together for fellowship. The previous year, the Rotary Club of Welwyn Garden City, England, formed the “Campus Club” that had the same purpose. The two soon merged and flourished under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Bromsgrove, Birmingham, England.
The spelling of the acronym, PROBUS, is capitalized in Canada.
In 1974, PROBUS expanded into New Zealand and by 1976 the idea had spread to Australia. The first PROBUS club for seniors in North America was promoted by John R. Morris and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Galt in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada in 1987. Although PROBUS membership has its greatest concentrations in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, clubs today exist in all parts of the world, including Canada, the U.S.A, Ireland, Belgium, India, South Africa, Chile, and several other countries in Africa and Asia comprising close to 4,000 clubs and over 400,000 members including the 32,000 members registered in Canada.
The name has multiple origins:
- Originally, the name derived from the initial makeup of the group; that of retired professional and business people.
- One of those who formed the first club in Caterham pointed out that the name is a Latin word from which probity was derived.
- Probus was also a Roman Emperor (276 – 282 A.D.) and he encouraged the planting of vineyards to restore economic stability to Gaul. He must have held the first Probus wine club!
Whatever the origin of the name – PROBUS clubs are organizations for men and women who are retired and want to maintain a social network with others who have similar interests. Guest speakers stimulate our minds and social & cultural activities provide opportunities for discussion and enjoyment with a broad spectrum of people.