University of Richmond

E. Bruce Heilman, 82-year-old University of Richmond chancellor, to make cross-country motorcycle trip marking career, personal anniversaries

September 8, 2008

E. Bruce Heilman, the University of Richmond chancellor and former president who recently turned 82, celebrated 60 years of marriage to wife Betty and marked 37 years on the campus, will ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle across the United States, leaving Richmond for San Diego, Calif., on Oct. 1.

Heilman will retrace in reverse the route he hitch-hiked in his Marine uniform in 1946, having returned from combat in Okinawa and occupation duty in Japan during and after World War II. He will follow existing portions of U.S. Route 66, the former main cross-country highway, wherever possible.

Heilman said the journey of reminiscence will be in honor of his military comrades, as well as University of Richmond alumni, who can join him on their motorcycles for any part of the trip. Alumni interested in riding along should contact the university's Office of Alumni Relations at (804) 289-8026 or He said he intends to deliver the greetings of Richmond's recently inaugurated president, Edward L. Ayers, the university generally, and himself at a number of alumni gatherings en route. He is also inviting alumni to meet him anywhere along the way for coffee and a brief visit.

Heilman expects to pass through Huntington and Charleston, W.Va.; Louisville, Ky.; St. Louis, Springfield and Branson, Mo.; Oklahoma City; Amarillo, Texas; Albuquerque, Flagstaff and Gallup, N.M.; Kingman, Ariz.; and Barstow, Calif.

"While this will be a journey of nostalgia, it will also be an opportunity to spread the news of the University of Richmond from coast to coast," he said.

Heilman joined the university as president in September 1971. He plans to cover up to 250 miles a day on his Harley Ultra Classic Electra Glide, Patriot Special Edition, arriving in San Diego around Oct. 15.