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Billy Edd Wheeler To Speak At BC Mid-year Graduation

Humorist, songwriter, and novelist Billy Edd Wheeler will speak at the Berea College Recognition Ceremony for mid-year graduates December 12.

Billy Edd Wheeler

Sixty-eight Berea College seniors will participate in the recognition service for mid-year graduates on Sunday, Dec. 12. The program will begin at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel.

Candidates being recognized are expected to complete degree requirements at the end of December 2004 or January 2005.

Billy Edd Wheeler, humorist, songwriter and novelist, will address the candidates for graduation. He also will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the College. Wheeler will perform two songs as part of his graduation address, titled "When God Winks."

Wheeler, a Whitesville, W. Va. native and 1955 Berea College alumnus, is the author or co-author of several books, including Laughter In Appalachia, and Real Country Humor--Jokes From Country Music. He also has written 16 plays which include the long-running outdoor historical dramas Hatfields & McCoys and Young Abe Lincoln, and Johnny Appleseed, which had its premier in June. He has received 13 ASCAP awards for his songs, recorded by Judy Collins, Neil Young, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, and more than 150 other artists here and abroad, selling over sixty million units. He recently was inducted into the Nashville Association of Songwriters International Hall of Fame.

In 1970, Wheeler received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Berea College. Other awards include Billboard Magazine's "Pacesetter Award” for Music and Drama.

After graduating from Berea College, Wheeler served in the Navy's Air Force, then went on to study playwriting at Yale University’s School of Drama.

He and his wife, Mary Mitchell Bannerman, have two children and live in Swannanoa, N.C.

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