Dr. Cornelius, beloved professor, joins his Lord

August 28, 2014

Picture 1Aug. 23, 2014 — Simultaneous rejoicing and grief have filled the hearts of Bryan College’s family since the news that beloved alumnus, former English professor, army veteran, and professor emeritus Dr. Richard M. Cornelius ‘55 passed from this world into the presence of his Lord and Savior Thursday morning (August 21, 2014).

Dr. Richard M. Cornelius Dr. Cornelius earned his B.A. in English from Bryan in 1955. After receiving his M.A. in English and his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, he returned to Bryan as Professor of English from 1961 until 1999, when he retired. He was named Alumnus of the Year in 1971 and also acted as the college’s archivist and liaison for Scopes trial information for over 40 years. According to his obituary, Dr. Cornelius was also an elder at Grace Bible Church in Dayton.

Christopher Burcham ’90, senior pastor at Union Hill Baptist Church in Clemmons, N.C., and former student of Dr. Cornelius’, reflected that the interest this professor showed not only in the alumnus’ academic life but also in his spiritual life has had an incredible influence over him even to this day. “His primary concern always seemed to be that I find fulfillment in serving the Lord,” Burcham said, noting that Dr. Cornelius maintained regular contact with him until entering a care facility some 20 years after Burcham had graduated. “ I will carry his influence forever and can’t wait for the opportunity to tell him that again in person!”

Bryan College President Stephen D. Livesay praised this professor’s work ethic, precision of language, and passion for Bryan. He said, “Dr Cornelius modeled a spirit of excellence for all of his students in his dedication to Bryan College. The hours he put in and all the lives he touched are a great testimony to his love for his Lord and his college. We all greatly admire and will greatly miss Dr. Richard Cornelius.”

Written by Chloe Ann Nardone ’14, assistant director of marketing, 423.775.7206;