The Transylvania Times -

Blue Ridge Community College Remembers Dr. Killian

 

April 1, 2019

Courtesy Photo

Dr. William Killian (circa 1975)

"The Blue Ridge Community College family is saddened to learn of the passing of our founding president Dr. William D. Killian," said BRCC president Dr. Laura Leatherwood. "He died (March 17) at the age of 96.

"His impact on Blue Ridge Community College and our community cannot be measured. His efforts and legacy will long be remembered by our college community," she said.

"One of the first things I did when I became president of Blue Ridge Community College was to visit Dr. Killian. My time with him was spent reminiscing about the early days of Blue Ridge Community College and his time as president. His advice and encouraging words to me were heartfelt and still relevant to me as a new president. His passion for education and building our college was clearly seen that day."

In an interview in 2012, a staff member asked Dr. Killian how he would like to be remembered:

"I would like to be remembered as a person who cared for the working people...as a person who helped other people," said Killian

Killian served as president of Blue Ridge Community College from 1969 until his retirement in 1987.

He was hired as president of the 'new' community college that was to be established in Henderson County in 1969. With that appointment, Killian had the daunting task to select a temporary location for the college, hire faculty and staff, design a curriculum, and begin classes in early 1970.

During his tenure, the college moved to its permanent location which is now the Henderson County Campus and expanded its reach into Transylvania County. An instructor of trades himself, Killian led the college from its infancy to a thriving college with dozens of job training programs, a college transfer track and a stellar reputation in the community.

The student center building, which houses the library, bookstore and other key components of student life, was named in his honor in 1989 in recognition of his exemplary service.

At his retirement, he was named president emeritus of Blue Ridge Community College by the Board of Trustees.

In 1990, he and his wife, Helen Killian, established the Dr. and Mrs. William D. Killian Outstanding Teacher Award. Established through an endowment. This prestigious award annually recognizes a faculty member's commitment to teaching excellence.

In 1997, Four Seasons Rotary Club of Hendersonville established the Dr. William D. Killian Leadership Scholarship Endowment in honor of Killian. The scholarship is awarded annually to a Blue Ridge Community College student that has exhibited leadership and service to the community.

In 2002, Killian was inducted into the Henderson County Education Hall of Fame.

 
 

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