Ray Klinginsmith, of the Rotary Club of Kirksville, Missouri, USA, was elected as president of Rotary International for 2010-11 by delegates during the fourth plenary session at the 2009 RI Convention in Birmingham, England.
Klinginsmith thanked the audience, saying that his election completed a long Rotary journey of nearly 50 years that began with a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship.
"Thank you for permitting me to complete a circle in my Rotary life. It was 25 years ago, in this very building, that the delegates to the 1984 convention elected me as an RI director," said Klinginsmith. "That election in 1984 permitted me to become the youngest director on the RI Board as a result of my early exposure to Rotary as a college student, because I was a Rotary Scholar."
Klinginsmith said that when the RI Convention is convened in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, in 2011, it will be the 50th anniversary of his "monthlong trip that lasted a lifetime."
Awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Cape Town, Klinginsmith said he was the first student from his community to study abroad. He told the audience how he embarked on his journey on a ship that sailed from New Orleans to Cape Town, where he made friends and was first exposed to the transformative power of Rotary.
"I had the good fortune to travel 16,000 miles in Africa and to visit 35 Rotary clubs in four different countries, and therefore, I am pleased to stand here today as a product of The Rotary Foundation," Klinginsmith said.
The Rotarians who will serve as 2010-12 RI directors were declared elected at the plenary session. They are Noel A. Bajat, of the Rotary Club of Abbeville, Louisiana, USA; Elio Cerini, of the Rotary Club of Milano Duomo, Italy; Kenneth W. Grabeau, of the Rotary Club of Nashua West, New Hampshire, USA; Stuart B. Heal, of the Rotary Club of Cromwell, New Zealand; Masaomi Kondo, of the Rotary Club of Senri, Osaka, Japan; Barry Matheson, of the Rotary Club of Jessheim, Norway; Samuel F. Owori, of the Rotary Club of Kampala, Uganda; and John C. Smarge, of the Rotary Club of Naples, Florida, USA.
RI General Secretary Ed Futa also declared elected the nominees for district governor in 2010-11 and announced the officers for Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland in 2009-10.