March 12, 2009

Rotary International President Will Help Local Club Celebrate 30th Anniversary

Pearl is the traditional gift for 30th anniversaries. When the Scotland County Rotary Club celebrates this landmark achievement March 17th, it will do so with another type of “gem”.

Rotary International President Elect Ray Klinginsmith will be the keynote speaker for the celebration that will be held at the Scotland County R-I High School in Memphis.

Klinginsmith, an attorney from Kirksville, Missouri, will become president of Rotary International - one of the largest humanitarian service organizations in the world – on July 1, 2010. As president, Klinginsmith will lead a global network of 1.2 million business and professional leaders who, through volunteer service, help meet the needs of communities worldwide.

“I am honored to lead Rotary as its 100th president,” said Klinginsmith. “Rotarians are outstanding volunteer workers, and by initiating thousands of humanitarian projects every year, Rotary is making a positive impact on the world. The ingenuity and generosity of Rotarians around the world is truly amazing.”

Scotland County’s group has been doing just that for the past 30 years. Whether it be the now famous Rotary Chicken-ques, calling bingo, or sponsoring youth sporting events, local Rotarians have been hard at it the past three decades raising money for local charities while promoting “service before self”.

The membership has sposnored thousands of dollars in college scholarships for local graduates. The food pantry has been another favorite cause for the club, as the annual Share the Harvest program is sponsored each deer season by Rotary.

Klinginsmith has been instrumental in this success story. He will return to honor the club which he helped get started back in 1979.

The Kirksville attorney works primarily in the areas of commercial and corporate law, real estate, and estate planning. He retired in August of 1995 as General Counsel and Professor of Business Administration for Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State University) in Kirksville after 22 years of service. During his tenure at the University, he also served as Dean of Administration for a period of five years. Since his retirement from the University, he served a four-year term as a county commissioner for Adair County from 2001-2004.

Ray is a graduate of the business school and the law school of the University of Missouri at Columbia. He is a member of The Missouri Bar and has practiced law since 1965.

A Rotarian for more than 40 years, Ray is currently a member of the Kirksville Rotary Club. He studied at the University of Cape Town as a Rotary Foundation ambassadorial scholar in 1961, and when he was elected to the board of directors for Rotary International in 1984, he became the first recipient of a Rotary Foundation award to serve on the RI board. He served as a Trustee of The Rotary Foundation from 2002 to 2006 and as vice chairman of the Trustees in 2005-06, and he has been awarded both the Citation for Meritorious Service and the Distinguished Service Award by the Foundation.

In other Rotary assignments, Ray served as moderator of the 1989 International Assembly in Phoenix, chairman of the 1998 Council on Legislation in New Delhi, vice chairman of the 2005 Chicago Convention Committee, and chairman of the 2008 Los Angeles Convention Committee. He has served in a variety of assignments for the codification of RI policies and the simplification of RI bylaws and similar documents. He also served as a member of the Future Vision Committee for The Rotary Foundation from 2005 to 2008. He is currently serving as chairman of the TRF Alumni Advisory Committee and as a member of the RI President’s Advisory Committee.

During his one-year term as Rotary International President, Klinginsmith will encourage Rotary’s 33,000 clubs to partner with local governments and non-governmental organizations to initiate projects that address peace and conflict prevention and resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development.

As president, Klinginsmith will also oversee Rotary’s top priority of eradicating polio, a crippling and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in Africa and Asia. Since 1985, Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than $800 million and countless volunteer hours to the effort, and Rotary is now working to raise an additional $200 million to fulfill its commitment for a $355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Great progress has been made, and the incidence of paralytic polio infection has plunged from 500,000 cases in 1979 to fewer than 2,000 in 2008. To learn more about polio eradication, visit

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