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William J. “Bill” Chatlos, Jr. receives Honorary Degree from Cumberlands


Williamsburg, KY – During commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 10th, University of the Cumberlands (UC) presented Mr. William J. “Bill” Chatlos, Jr. with the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree.

Mr. Chatlos, Jr. was born in Patterson, New Jersey. At the age of 14, he began working summers for Sun Ray Homes, Incorporated, a real estate development company founded by his grandfather.

In 1969, Mr. Chatlos, Jr. was graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Education, and he was recruited by Sears, Roebuck & Company in Miami, Florida to enter their management training program. While at Sears, he was able to lead and mentor associates and always recognized the potential in others and encouraged their advancement.

Also in 1969, Mr. Chatlos, Jr. was elected to the Board of Trustees of The Chatlos Foundation enabling him to develop skills in policy implementation and procedures, stock market analysis and portfolio management.

He left Sears in 1976 to open a small business in Winter Springs, Florida designing, building and operating a coin laundry and dry cleaning facility. He purchased a second location and was negotiating the purchase of a third when a decision was made to move The Chatlos Foundation headquarters from Miami to the Orlando area. After the move, he was elected to serve as Vice President of The Chatlos Foundation, Inc. on November 3, 1977.

In 1978 he was elected to serve as President/CEO of Sun Ray Homes, Incorporated, and he still holds that position today. Also, in 1978, he sold his small coin laundry business. He continued as Vice President of the Foundation until 1982 when Alice E. Chatlos, who served as President/Chairman of the Board, relinquished her role, and he was elected President/CEO of the family foundation.

Under the guidance of William J. Chatlos, Jr. for the last 31 years, The Chatlos Foundation, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, has awarded grants in excess of $112,444,398 to 9,311 organizations worldwide, including UC – Cumberland College.

In addition to his philanthropy and business interest, Mr. Chatlos, Jr. has served in various leadership roles including the Foundation Fighting Blindness, The Society for Urology and Engineering, the Florida Hospital Board, and the Lions Club International Foundation. The Association of Fund Raising Professionals presented Mr. Chatlos, Jr. and the Chatlos Board of Trustees with the Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation award of 2007.

Mr. Chatlos, Jr. believes that his grandfather, William Chatlos, was the brains of the Foundation; his aunt, Alice Chatlos, the heart, and the succeeding generations the hands and feet continuing the family legacy. He noted, “If there is any good that people see in me, it is because I stood on the shoulders of others to see the future.”

He has been married to Janet A. Chatlos for 43 years, and is the father of three sons, one daughter and the grandfather of six.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; ten pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit