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Kirkland earns doctorate in humanities

Iron City resident Michael Kirkland, an assistant professor of history in the Bainbridge College (BC) Arts and Sciences Division, has earned—with distinction—his Ph.D. in humanities from Florida State University.

He attributes his success to the support of his wife, Katina, who teaches at Seminole County Elementary School, and the encouragement that three BC faculty members gave him as a student.

The BC alumnus focused his dissertation on American culture and politics, passing his oral exams in July 2008, and on Nov. 19, 2009, he successfully defended his dissertation, “The Impact of the Cold War on the Representation of White Masculinity in Hollywood Film.”

“I think it is important for our area students to know that someone who starts out at Bainbridge College can go all the way academically and complete a doctorate,” said Kirkland, noting that BC plays an important part in the lives of area residents who want a higher education.

“Some students who come to BC could go anywhere, but the majority need that solid start that a community college can provide—and I was one of those. Had I attended university straight out of high school, it would have been a disaster,” said Kirkland, who likes to share his favorite Chinese proverb with his students: “Dig the well before you are thirsty.”

As a BC student, he served as Student Government Association (SGA) president and College Bowl Team captain, was BC’s Most Outstanding Freshman Male, received the BC Student Services Award and was named to Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Georgia and his Master of Arts in History from Valdosta State University.

Kirkland joined the BC faculty in 2002 and served as BC’s interim vice president of student affairs 2007-08.

“I was honored to have served in the same position as Ernie,” he said, referring to the late Ernie Jones, who was also SGA adviser and to whom he attributes much of his success.

In addition to Jones and wife, Katina, Kirkland credits his accomplishments to Margaret Smith, who was vice president of academic affairs and an English professor, and Jim Young, BC professor emeritus of history who taught him and coached the College Bowl team.

Active members of Iron City Baptist Church, the Kirklands are parents of Gracen, 7, Landon, 4, and Anna Kate, 1.