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Sheriff Colan Harrell Receives Leadership Award from University of the Cumberlands


Williamsburg, Ky. – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke to a crowded auditorium of over 3,000 University of the Cumberlands (UC) students, staff, and faculty, as well as friends from across the state of Kentucky, during the University’s 7th annual Forcht Group of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Leadership event on Tuesday, April 3rd. Held in the O. Wayne Rollins Center on the UC campus, Giuliani’s speech, “Principled Leadership in a Time of Crisis,” spoke on courage and the six principles of leadership; beliefs, optimism, courage, relentless preparation, teamwork and communication.

The Center, that sponsors internationally renowned speakers recognized for their character and leadership, provides a keynote speaker yearly at UC to help raise the visibility of the University’s values.

At this year’s program UC honored eight individuals who have been instrumental in demonstrating the essentials of exceptional leadership in a time of crisis. These individuals were chosen because they have shown extraordinary courage by responding with bravery during crisis and emergency situations or by showing compassion and generosity toward others. Colan Harrell was of the individuals that received a Principled Leadership Award for his commitment and motivation in providing outstanding service in response to crisis situations and his dedication to making the world a safer place to live.

Harrell, who is a graduate of Corbin High School in 1964, continued his education at Eastern Kentucky University and Cumberland College respectively, graduating in 1981.

Over the years Harrell has served the community in numerous capacities and currently he is serving as the Sheriff of Whitley County. Prior to his role of Sheriff, Harrell played an important part of the Kentucky State Police, with whom he was employed from 1969 to 2009. Before his retirement in 2009, Harrell assumed responsibilities including working as a Kentucky State Police Detective for 35 years.

During his time off, Harrell dedicates his time to Corbin’s Masonic Order #938, as well as the Fraternal Order of Police in Williamsburg, KY. He is also a member of Whitley County’s Airport Board.

He is the husband of Jo Veta Moses Harrell and the father of four: Deborah Mitchell, Malisia Shelton, Kelly Morton and Cody Harrell.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.