College honors Dr. Cornelius for WJB, Scopes efforts
April 28, 2009

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Bryan College honored Dr. Richard Cornelius on his second retirement from Bryan during Honors Day ceremonies April 27.Dr. Livesay, right, presents Dr. Cornelius a gift on his second retirement from Bryan.


Dr. Cornelius, who retired as professor of English in 1999 and has served as Scopes liaison for the past 10 years, will end his service in June, President Stephen Livesay said.


As Scopes liaison, Dr. Cornelius has served as the primary resource at the college for information about William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes Trial.


For more than 40 years, beginning when he was pursuing his graduate studies in English, Dr. Cornelius has been interested in or actively studying Bryan and the Scopes Trial. Because of his efforts, Bryan College has become known as THE repository of information about those topics.


His articles on the subject have appeared in scholarly journals and popular publications. He has published an annotated map of Scopes Trial sites; a pamphlet about Bryan, the Trial and “Inherit the Wind”; edited an annotated bibliography about Bryan and the Trial; edited a collection of articles and photographs about the trial; edited a collection of Bryan’s speeches; and produced a collection of songs about the Trial.


Tom Davis, director of public information who has worked closely with Dr. Cornelius said, “He is the unsung hero to countless researchers, ranging from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Edward J. Larson to junior high students researching History Day projects.”


Dr. Cornelius has contributed to documentaries produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation, Irish National Radio, German Television, The History Channel, Court TV, National Public Radio, ABC, CBS and NBC Television, and The American Experience.


He has served as a leader in his church, helped organize the Scopes Trial Festival, served as chairman of the Rhea County Heritage and Scopes Trial Museum committee and is a director of the Rhea County Historical Society.


“It has been my honor to work closely with Dr. Cornelius for nearly 18 years, to learn from him, to admire his attention to detail, his commitment to accuracy, and his willingness to go the extra mile for those seeking help,” Mr. Davis said. “More than those things which have made him a recognized expert in his field, I have seen his deep love for Jesus Christ and for Bryan College. I think it’s fair to say that his heart’s desire is that our Lord is honored and that Bryan College live out its motto of Christ Above All.


“In his oration, ‘The Prince of Peace,’ William Jennings Bryan said, ‘The human measure of a human life is its income; the divine measure of a life is its outgo, its overflow – its contribution to the welfare of all.’


“Dr. Cornelius’ contribution to Bryan College has been one of outgo, overflow, of contribution. I think Mr. Bryan would be proud, and I know we have benefitted enormously from his efforts.”