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MARTIN, Tenn. -Dr. Ronald H. Kirkland, the president of the University of Tennessee National Alumni Association, will be the December commencement speaker for the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Kirkland, who graduated from UT Martin and the UT Center for the Health Sciences, Memphis, will deliver the commencement speech at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12, in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center on the UT Martin campus.

More than 300 degrees are expected to be conferred.

Kirkland is an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat physician) with the Jackson Clinic in Jackson, Tenn. He was born and reared in Union City. He earned a bachelor of science degree in liberal arts from UT Martin in 1970, and he earned his doctor of medicine in 1977, from the UT Center for the Health Sciences, Memphis.

While Kirkland-s UT Martin classmates participated in commencement exercises, he served as a sergeant in the United States Army in Nha Trang, South Vietnam, using his military intelligence school courses in Vietnamese to fulfill his UT Martin graduation requirements.

After a year and a half in the family business, Kirkland decided to go to medical school. He served as a graduate assistant in biology at UT Martin and he took courses at Vanderbilt in order to better prepare himself for medical school.

Kirkland completed a residency in otolarynology in 1982, and began practicing in Memphis, moving to Jackson in 1984. He was named a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honorary Scholastic Fraternity at UT-Knoxville, and was a Distingusihed Service Graduate from the UT Center for the Health Sciences, Memphis. He was presented the Twelfth Man Award by the University School of Jackson Bruins Club in 1997.

Kirkland serves as a director of Union Planters Bank of Jackson, The Jackson Clinic; and holds memberships in Consolidated Medical Assembly of West Tennessee, the Tennessee
Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity; Phi Chi medical fraternity; the Sons of the American Revolution; the American Legion; the Veterans of Foreign Wars; and Jackson Country Club. He is a deacon at First Baptist Church of Jackson.

Kirkland-s involvment in the alumni association began when he served as president of the Madison County Chapter of the UT National Alumni Association and was subsequently elected to the UTNAA Board of Governors. He was elected president of the UT National Alumni Association July 1, and has been actively promoting increased funding for higher education in the state of Tennesssee.

Kirkland is married to the former Carol Glasgow, who earned degrees from UT Martin in 1967 and 1971. The couple has four children, UT Martin graduate Arthur, UT-K graduate James, and UT-K students Frances and William.

UT Martin Chancellor Philip W. Conn will preside over the exercises and confer the degrees. Distinguished Professor Ted Mosch will be the mace bearer, and the processional marshals will be Faculty Senate President Maurice Field, Faculty Senate Vice President Douglas Sterrett, Executive Vice Chancellor Nick Dunagan and Vice Chancellor Phillip Dane.

A reception will immediately follow commencement ceremonies in the Duncan Ballroom in the Ed and Carolyn Boling University Center.