University History

Dr. E. Bruce Heilman

President, 1971-1986

Interim Appointment 1987-1988


E. Bruce Heilman became Chancellor at the University of Richmond October 1, 1988, after serving as President and Chief Executive Officer for approximately 17 years. Prior to beginning his long association with the University of Richmond in 1971, he had served as President of Meredith College beginning in 1966.

A U.S. Marine during the World War II Pacific Campaign, Dr. Heilman later received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He was educated at Campbellsville Junior College in Kentucky (now Campbellsville University), the University of Omaha, the University of Kentucky, the University of Tennessee, and George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. His master’s and doctoral degrees are from Peabody College with majors in the fields of Business and Education Administration. He also holds honorary LL.D. degrees from Wake Forest University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, and the University of Richmond; Doctor of Humanities from Campbell University and James Madison University; Doctor of Business Administration from the College of the Ozarks; Doctor of Humane Letters from Bridgewater College; a Doctor of Public Service from Campbellsville College; and an Honorary Professorship from Tatung Institute of Technology in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.

He has held teaching positions at Belmont University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, and Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He has served as chief business and financial officer at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Georgetown College and Peabody College, where he also served as Vice President of Administration. He also served as Coordinator of Higher Education for the State of Tennessee, and as Vice President and Dean of Arts and Sciences at Kentucky Southern College.

A renowned and respected educator, he has served as a consultant to many educational, religious, and charitable organizations and been a member and officer of numerous professional and educational boards and organizations. Some of special note include member of the Board of Campbellsville University, advisory board trustee at William Jewell College in Kansas City, member and former Chairman of the Board of the Marine Military Academy in Texas, Member of the Board of Visitors of the Marine Corps University at Quantico as well as serving on the Advisory Review Board of the Service Academies and the Board of Directors of the National Defense University Foundation, Inc.

He serves on the Boards of The Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Richmond SPCA, Robins Foundation, Maymont Foundation, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and was past chairman and a member of the Board of Metro-County Bank of Virginia.

In addition to his experiences and travels as a Marine in World War II in the South Pacific and Japan, Dr. Heilman has covered more than 140 countries as he has escorted travel groups abroad annually for more than 30 years, and is a member of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club International.

Dr. Heilman holds membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Gamma Sigma, Pi Omega Pi, Kappa Phi Kappa, Lambda Chi Alpha and Kappa Delta Pi. He has been listed in numerous publications including Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in College and University Administration, Leaders in Education, Leaders of the English Speaking World, and Personalities in the South.

Among other honors he was selected as one of the “100 Most Effective College and University Presidents in the USA” through an Exxon Foundation sponsored study; he was named as one of the “Richmond Area’s Most Influential People” in 1984 and 1986; awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from Campbellsville University and Peabody College; and selected as one of only two Reverse Exchange Eisenhower Fellows to the Republic of China in 1987. He received the Charles D Johnson Outstanding Educator Award from The Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools in 2004.

Dr. Heilman is married to the former Betty June Dobbins of Louisville, Kentucky, and they have five children and 11 grandchildren. He is a native of LaGrange, Kentucky.