Tillie Bishop isn’t finished earning college degrees.
Although the longtime public servant and unrivaled statesman who died last year at the age of 86 already had a long list of degrees, the University of Colorado Board of Regents announced Monday that it wants to give him one more.
At its spring commencement in May, the regents are to honor Bishop with a posthumous honorary doctorate, something they often do to honor people for such things as intellectual contributions, university service, public service or philanthropy.
Bishop served one six-year term as a regent from 2007 to 2011 representing the 3rd Congressional District.
“It’s a measure of Tillie’s influence and accomplishments that he is receiving such a prestigious award after his passing,” said Glen Gallegos, the Grand Junction resident who replaced Bishop on the board and now acts as its chairman. “His legacy is the tremendous impact he had over decades of countless numbers of students in Colorado and beyond at every level of education.”
A former high school teacher, Bishop earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in education from the University of Northern Colorado. In 1999, UNC awarded Bishop with an honorary doctorate. Bishop also had done other post-graduate work at UNC, Colorado State University and the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1987, he was the Gates Foundation Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Born Tilman M. Bishop in Colorado Springs early in the Great Depression on New Year’s Day back in 1933, he was first elected to the Colorado Legislature in 1971. Bishop spent 28 years there, four in the Colorado House and 24 in the Colorado Senate, making him the fourth longest serving legislator in the state’s history. He was term limited in 1998.
During much of that time, he also worked as an administrator at what then was known as Mesa Junior College, and served one term as a Mesa County commissioner. Ironically, he would end his career as a trustee at the same institution, now known as Colorado Mesa University.
He died in June of complications from cancer and Parkinson’s disease.