Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, will be the keynote speaker for the Spring 2012 graduation of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The event will be held May 12 at 3 p.m. at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, will be the keynote speaker for the Spring 2012 graduation of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The event will be held May 12 at 3 p.m. at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

Now retired from practice, Elders is a professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and remains active in public health education.

The first person in the state of Arkansas to become board certified in pediatric endocrinology, Elders was the 16th surgeon general of the nation, the first African American and the second woman to head the U.S. Public Health Service.

Long an outspoken advocate of public health, Elders was appointed surgeon general by then-President Clinton in 1993.

Born in poor, rural Arkansas to sharecroppers, Elders won a scholarship to Philander Smith College where she earned a bachelorís degree in 1952. Elders did an internship in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, and in 1961 returned to UAMS for her residency. She earned her masterís degree in biochemistry from UAMS in 1967, became an assistant professor of pediatrics in 1971, and full professor in 1976.

In 1987, then-Gov. Clinton named her director of the stateís department of health where Elders combined her clinical practice with research in pediatric endocrinology, publishing more than 100 papers, most dealing with problems of growth and juvenile diabetes.

For commencement details, call 575-8487.