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Honorary Doctorate recipient addresses University of the Cumberlands


Dr. Jim Taylor presents an Honorary Doctor of Education degree to Dr. Bruce E. Heilman.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – University of the Cumberlands was pleased to honor Dr. E. Bruce Heilman with an Honorary Doctor of Education Degree on Monday October 19th during a convocation service in the O. Wayne Rollins Center.

A gifted speaker, Heilman began his inspiring address to faculty and students with a joke and spoke of growing up on a farm in Kentucky. He regards his high school career as a dark time, due to his failing and lack of ambition. “I failed in high school, yet God has led me to pursue a career in higher education,” Heilman remarked of his life story. Following his service as a U.S. Marine in WWII, Heilman applied to Georgetown College, but was unable to attend with his poor academic record. He was granted admission to Campbellsville Junior College (now Campbellsville University). “This school came into my life at the right place and the right time because it inspired me to pursue a career in higher education,” he stated. He then mentioned several of his accomplishments that he had once thought impossible.

Heilman has held numerous teaching positions and administrative positions at colleges and universities, including Belmont, Kentucky Wesleyan, Peabody and Georgetown. He has served as president of Merideth College and the University of Richmond, and is currently chancellor at Richmond.

The author of “An Interruption that Lasted a Lifetime: My First Eighty Years,” an autobiography, Heilman is especially fond of his Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide Patriot Edition, which he received for his 81st birthday and still enjoys riding. Emphasizing his 83 years of age, he remarked, “Age is only a measure of time; learning is the best medicine for deferring old age.” Citing his own life, he told the audience that we must learn to expect the unexpected and remain focused on how God’s plan for our lives may be something entirely different than what we expect.