Charles Van Cleave Bruce, a native of Barren County, Kentucky, was the youngest son of a family of seven boys and six girls. Upon graduating from Manuel High School in Louisville, he was awarded the medal for “best all-around student” in his class.
Once “Charley” was asked if he were related to Dr. H.D. Bruce, former President of East Texas Baptist College. He replied, “Distantly. He was the third child born to my parents and I was the thirteenth.”
Charles, Virginia, and Joe Bruce arrived on the NGC campus in August 1949, driving a 1938 model Pontiac Coupe. He was to be the head of the newly established Commerce Department and serve as Business Manager of the school. In addition to these responsibilities he served as dean of men, taught all the courses offered in the department except shorthand, and coached the basketball team. His teaching carrer continued until 1970.
C.V. Bruce has been one of the most easily recognizable men on campus for more than 32 years – by students, staff, and alumni. He served as Business Manager for 22 years, before assuming the role as assistant to the President for a short period. He returned to the business office until 1978 when he “retired” to serve on a part-time basis until his full retirement at the end of 1981.
The 1957 Aurora dedication to Mr. Bruce sums up the type of man he really is.
“He is likable – the students and faculty enjoy associating with him.”
“He is helpful – he gives his students the very best he can.”
“He is sincere – he takes his work as business manager and instructor in Commerce seriously and does well each.”
“He is fair – in his dealings with faculty, students, and friends alike.”
“He is humorous – he keeps the student’s minds happy!”
“He is our Mr. Charles Van Cleave Bruce! The person to whom we dedicate the 1957 Aurora.”
In reminiscing Mr. Bruce remembers White Hall and Neves Dining Hall as the only remaining buildings that were on the campus when he arrived. The gym was the first building to be built. He persuaded Dr. M.C. Donnan to open a “canteen” in the basement of the old auditorium so students could go for recreation, rap sessions, and refreshments. The idea grew into the present Student Center.
C.V. is a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College. He earned his master’s degree from Peabody College. He served in the armed forces before coming to North Greenville. Mrs. Bruce is the former Virginia Carrington of Winchester, Kentucky. Their son, Joe Bruce, is a teacher and the coach at Blue Ridge High School. They live on Blackwell Road in Tigerville.
The following modest comment reflects the statue of C.V. Bruce, “North Greenville has been my life for these 32 years. Because of those who have been here and those who have helped to make North Greenville what it is, I rejoice that I have been allowed to serve with them and to be a part of the progress of the College.
NGC President James D. Jordan remarked that “It is proper that we recognize the significance of one who long, able, and dedicated services has helped to keep the college going, even in some difficult times.”
Photo: From left, Joe, Mrs. Bruce, Mr. Bruce.
Printed in the March 1982 edition of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.