Cliff Dochterman Citizen of the Year
Cliff Dochterman

2014 Moraga Citizen of the Year Cliff Dochterman

Cliff Dochterman, a man who has dedicated his life to helping others and various community causes, was named this week as the 2014 Moraga Citizen of the Year. He will be honored on Friday, May 2 at a banquet at St. Mary's College Soda Center.The award is co-sponsored by the Moraga Valley Kiwanis Club, the Contra Costa Times, the Lamorinda Sun and the Moraga Chamber of Commerce.
Dochterman, 88, has been a Moraga resident since 1994, has led many local community initiatives, but has even made a bigger impact on humanitarian causes around the world.
He perhaps is best known for his involvement with Rotary International, where he started as a member in Berkeley some 56 years ago and has a perfect attendance record during those six decades. During his time with Rotary, he has served in almost every Rotary assignment in the world and was elected as the World President of the 1.2 million member organization during 1992-93. His theme during his presidency was "Real Happiness is Helping Others," and he has led his life with that as a guiding principal.
During his time with Rotary, Dochterman has been recognized for his initial leadership in creating The Rotary Foundation's PolioPlus Program, Rotary's worldwide effort to eradicate the polio polio: see poliomyelitis. virus. Over 2.5 billion children have received polio vaccines a result of Rotary's work with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other program partners and the effort has reduced the disease by over 99% since the initiative began in the mid 1980s, with only three countries still showing evidence of the disease. Recently, the Bill Gates Foundation has joined hands with Rotary to continue the polio eradication process and since its inception, there has been over $1.3 billion raised in the cause which Dochterman helped initiate and over 99% of polio cases worldwide have been eliminated due to the ambition project.
Dochterman has led many local community efforts including beautification projects with Moraga parks and recreation department (including play structures in local parks for the community's youth), and recently helped create the Moraga Employee of the Month program, honoring deserving town employees. He often is seen working the popcorn machine at the Rotary booths at community faires, local youth swimming and soccer events. In 2012 he was appointed to serve as Moraga's representative to the Contra Costa County ACOA (Area Council on Aging) which helped guide local senior issues. He initiated the fund raising campaign to enable the Rheem Theater to meet the needs of handicapped individuals.
He has served for nine years on the board of directors of the Moraga Country Club, where he continues to reside. He was very instrumental in the program to build a new clubhouse.
In addition to his Rotary association, Dochterman has a lifelong association with the Boy Scouts, since he earned the Eagle Scout award in 1939 at age 13. He has been awarded three of the highest honors of the Boy Scouts of America including the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope (1981) and Distinguished Eagle Award (1991). He currently is a member of the Executive Board of the San Francisco Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
His professional career in higher education included 20 years at the University of California (Berkeley) and 20 years at the University of Pacific. He has served as the president of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation Commission. He also has been a recipient of the George Washington Honor Medal of the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge for his contributions to the American way of life.
With his relaxed and folksy oratory style, Dochterman has been one of the most popular speakers for Rotary and other organizations worldwide. He estimates he has spoken at over 2000 events during his career as a volunteer with Rotary and in educational circles in more than 100 countries. He has been honored by heads of state of dozens of countries for spreading goodwill and world understanding. He also is an established author, most recently writing "As I was Saying," a collection of 23 of his favorite speeches.
Although Dochterman is considered a worldwide leader and holds three honorary doctor's degrees, he willingly and quietly takes time to volunteer on numerous community tasks no matter how big or small. He has played Santa Claus for the past 17 years for Moraga children at the annual Moraga Country Club Christmas children's party; occasionally substitutes for the minister's sermon at St. Mark's Methodist Church; is a major supporter for the Moraga Hospice Christmas Tree; serves at the Hacienda Cinco de Mayo celebration; is a regular attendee and sponsor at Campolindo sports events; and assists at the Rotary-sponsored Field Day for Moraga school children or e-waste collection day. In serving the community and the world, this 88 year old gentleman has found that "happiness truly is helping others."