State Representative Battling ALS Honored by Warner Pacific
During Warner Pacific College’s spring graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 2016, the college bestowed on Victor “Vic” S. Gilliam ’75, the honorary doctor of laws. As an alumnus of Warner Pacific, Vic Gilliam embodies the mission of the college through his strong gift of leadership and his deep commitment to civic engagement and service.
Soon after graduating from Warner Pacific, Representative Gilliam began working as a legislative aide for United States Senator Mark O. Hatfield, a position he held until 1981.
Proudly serving Oregon’s 18th District (Silverton, Oregon) since January 2007, Representative Gilliam has worked to improve the lives of older Oregonians. He introduced legislation each session in efforts to identify gaps in services provided to elders and to reduce abuse and neglect. Human services and higher education have also been a priority during his time with the Oregon Legislature. His commitment to these efforts is mirrored in his direct service to the community in the Silverton area as an associate member of the Oregon Farm Bureau, board member for Corban University (Salem), and member of the strategic planning advisory committee to Salem School Superintendents, to highlight just a small portion of his community volunteerism.
In November 2015, Representative Gilliam, who earned his bachelor of arts from Warner Pacific in 1975, announced he was experiencing the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. In the midst of this difficult time, he continued to point to God’s goodness in an honest and heartfelt letter to his constituents. Representative Gilliam writes, “I also wanted to share that faith has been crucial for facing this new chapter of life. Becky and I are finding comfort in these words of Jesus: ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’”
“Warner Pacific College is deeply honored to recognize such a distinguished alumnus as Representative Gilliam with the honorary doctorate of laws degree,” said Dr. Andrea Cook, president of Warner Pacific College. “Vic truly reflects Warner Pacific’s mission and values through his strong gift of leadership and his deep commitment to civic engagement and service with godly guidance. Beyond his dedication to the people living in the 18th District of Oregon (Silverton, Oregon), he has shown bold leadership in protecting Oregon’s most vulnerable senior citizens. His record demonstrates his commitment to bestowing blessings on others to raise up a better community for all.”
Warner Pacific bestowed its first honorary doctorate degree on Senator Hatfield, who received a doctor of humanities in 1965.
Warner Pacific College is a private, Christ-centered college of over 1,200 undergraduates and graduate students in Portland, Oregon. Warner Pacific was recognized as a top college and best academic value in the west according to the 2016 U.S. News and World Report. Established in 1937 by the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), Warner Pacific offers 29 undergraduate majors and 4 graduate programs in business, education, ministry, and music at 6 campuses across the Portland metropolitan area and online. Warner Pacific provides all students with a welcoming and inclusive space to dream, achieve, and flourish. Learn more at www.warnerpacific.edu.