Civitan History

A community team with big hearts.

New Bern Civitan Club

The New Bern Civitan Club was chartered on October 4, 1956, with 26 members. As of August 2021 our membership now numbers 75. Since our beginning, our club has been dedicated to helping the less fortunate in the community, the state, and the nation. While the Civitan primary charitable focus is intellectual and developmental disabilities, we also have many local projects.

Members have included CEOs, high-level managers, county and municipal officials, university professors, college presidents, attorneys, doctors, dentists, accountants, and educators. We welcome all who wish to share in the ideals and fellowship of Civitan, and with those with a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Membership in Civitan is open to anyone who is at least 18 years old and of good character.

Civitan International History

On March 17, 1917, a group of Birmingham, Alabama, businessmen and professional men began meeting weekly at lunch to discuss ways they might contribute to the improvement of the community. Like all major cities ─ then and now ─ Birmingham had problems. These men found some of the answers, and decided to join together as a winning team.

During World War I, these Birmingham Civitans generously contributed both resources and service. Club members not entering the armed forces took up the task of conscientiously supporting every drive started in support of the United States war effort.

Dr. Courtney W. Shropshire, a prominent physician and surgeon, was among the initial group. He is credited with being the founder of Civitan International.

As word of the effectiveness of the Birmingham Civitan Club spread, men from other cities became interested in the Civitan concept. The growing interest outside Birmingham soon convinced the original members that their club could be a pattern for an international organization of Civitan clubs.

 The international organization was established on April 15, 1920, with Dr. Shropshire as president. Several years later the title Founder and First President was conferred upon Dr. Shropshire. Today there are also Campus Civitan Clubs and Junior Civitan clubs geared to helping our young people get involved in helping their communities. These Civitan clubs help to support an award-winning research institution dedicated to solving mental retardation issues, the Civitan International Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Civitan International Research Center

The mission of the Civitan International Research Center is to improve the well-being and the quality of life of individuals and families affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities.