As President of Rotary International, Ray will preside over an organization of 1.25 million members in 32,000 clubs located in 200 countries. The rigorous schedule of the president includes travel to numerous meetings and projects around the world during a two-year period as president-elect and president. The president serves as chairman of the RI board of directors and the chief spokesman for Rotary. He is supported by the world headquarters of Rotary in Evanston, Illinois, and by seven branch offices located in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.
Ray earned degrees in business and law at the University of Missouri and studied at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar in 1961. He was general counsel and professor of business at Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville (now Truman State University) from 1973 until his retirement in 1995, and he also held the post of Dean of Administration for five years.
Ray, who now operates a law office, served as an elected county commissioner from 2001 to 2004. He has been a director of the Macon Atlanta State Bank since 1971 and president of the Chariton Valley Association for Handicapped Citizens since its inception in 1982. He and his wife, Judie, have two children and three grandchildren.
Ray joined Rotary in Unionville, Missouri immediately following his Rotary scholarship in 1961. In 1965, he became a member of the Rotary Club of Macon, Missouri, while practicing law with the Belt and Klinginsmith firm in Macon. He became a member of the Kirksville Club when he became General Counsel for Northeast Missouri State University in 1973.
Ray has served Rotary as district governor and as chair of the 1998 Council on Legislation in New Delhi and the 2008 Los Angeles Convention Committee. He was a member of the RI Board of Directors in 1985-87 and chaired its executive committee in 1986-87. Ray was a Trustee for The Rotary Foundation from 2002 to 2006, serving as vice chair in 2005-06, and he was a member of the Future Vision Committee from 2005 to 2008. Ray, a Major Donor to the Foundation, is a recipient of the Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Award.
Ray has also earned many honors in his community including the Parent/Caretaker Award from the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities; the Thomas D. Cochran Award for Community Service, an annual statewide award by the Young Lawyers Section of the Missouri Bar; and the Silver Beaver Award from the Great Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America of which he is a former member of the executive board.
Ray believes that Rotary’s best days are still ahead. In his statement to the nominating committee, he said “The reputation and ability of Rotarians to impact the world positively is better than ever, and the future of Rotary is bright! The end of polio is in sight, and this is an exciting time to be a Rotarian!”
Originally posted on August 19, 2008