SOLANA BEACH, CA, September 13, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Dr. Vincent Carver Gilliam, Rel.M., Ph.D. with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, Dr. Gilliam was selected on the basis of current reference value, including factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility and prominence in a field. Dr. Gilliam, a mystical poet and philosopher, an ordained educator and scholar of Comparative Literature and Comparative Religious Philosophy is an accomplished listee, the first African-American to receive a double Ph.D. in Religious Studies and in Humanities from Stanford University, has been noted for his achievements, leadership qualities and credentials in multiple fields.
Dr. Gilliam published his seminal work of mystical and lyrical poetry Optics: The Mystical Poet's Guide to the Science of Inner Sight in 2006, which was nominated and considered for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. This book of poetry has a preface by James Baldwin, the well-known writer and activist, who was Dr. Gilliam's close friend. Dr. Gilliam's book of poetry and essays on literature and mysticism attempt to restore the knowledge and use of melody and spirituality in poetry for the modern age following the revolution of Free Verse.
Dr. Gilliam's life and work, as a mystical poet, scholar and philosopher of note, as well as a minister and translator for more than fifty years have been dedicated to what he calls "the science of spirituality and religious practice." Dr. Gilliam had his first of three mystical experiences while studying Eastern philosophy and religious thought during college at Stanford University. After college, he went on to seminary at the School of Theology at Claremont and at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His study, practice and experience of both Eastern and Western religious philosophy and their traditions reminds one of Alan Watts, the well known British philosopher and teacher, who likewise dedicated himself to studying Christian and Eastern religious philosophy and popularized Zen Buddhism and Eastern religious thought in the West. Interestingly, Dr. Gilliam, while still an undergraduate at Stanford, met Alan Watts at the luncheon his college Eating Club had invited him to attend as its guest speaker. They sat across from each other and talked intensely about Dr. Gilliam's immersion into the perplexity of Buddhist thought, which was followed some moments later, as fate would have it, by the onset of the first of Dr. Gilliam's experiences mentioned above. Throughout his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, the University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University, Dr. Gilliam studied the languages, histories and philosophies of each of the so-called five major religious traditions as well as others of the world, and is now writing his magnum opus—a literary and philosophical epic, grounded in his experience as a mystic, a poet and philosopher, with both classical and modern substance and form to contribute to the canons of American and world literature.
Dr. Gilliam was ordained in the United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1982, and honored by the UCC church with gratitude and appreciation on June 2, 2017 for 35 years of service as a religion educator and an ordained minister. He faithfully served at the Lincoln Memorial Congregational Church in Los Angeles until 1986. Dr. Gilliam has been a dedicated advocate for social justice, and hosted his own radio program "Peace After Freedom: Justice Before Righteousness" on KPFA-FM in the early 1980s. For this program, Dr. Gilliam interviewed academics, politicians, artists, clerics and community leaders both domestic and foreign. Among those he interviewed included Congressman Ron Dellums from Berkeley/Oakland; Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa; and Fr. Gérard Jean-Juste, the liberation theologian from Haiti, who later asked Dr. Gilliam to compose a poem on behalf of the efforts of the Haitian people in their struggle for liberation, which was included in Dr. Gilliam's book of poetry, Optics, mentioned above, as he was the Executive Director for the Coalition for Haitian Asylum from 1983 to 1984. Dr. Gilliam was also one of the research assistants on the Martin Luther King Junior Papers Project until 1987, an Executive Committee Board member for the Peace/Education Committee of the American Friends Service Committee in San Francisco (1983-1991), and a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil in the late 1960s. Dr Gilliam has continued his efforts toward peace, harmony and the betterment of human society through his writing.
Dr. Gilliam has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Northern Africa, the Near East and the Far East. Being proficient to fluent in eight languages including Arabic, Classical Greek and Latin, and four of the modern European Romance Languages, Dr. Gilliam was able to study many documents in their original texts to assist him in his teaching. His doctoral dissertation, The Evolution of the Mystical Language of Love in San Juan de la Cruz, was an in-depth monograph on St. John of the Cross that traced his mystical philosophy and literature through their primary philosophical and literary sources from their origins in Plato and Aristotle up to the 16th century Spanish milieu in which St. John of the Cross lived. To more accurately reinterpret the writings of St. John of the Cross, Dr. Gilliam translated the poetry of the Carmelite saint from Spanish, under the title The Mystical Poetry of Illumination in St. John of the Cross, as well as wrote and included several essays on his poetry and literary works and on the significance of his mysticism to religious thought.
After receiving his doctorate from Stanford, Dr. Gilliam was a President's Fellow on the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley, and then a Visiting Professor at the University of California at San Diego. He declined offers from several prominent universities in favor of a life of retreat and contemplation in order to remain faithful to his calling as a mystical poet, writer and philosopher, as well as to produce works which will reach a wider audience over the course of time.
Dr. Gilliam has three children from his first marriage and one child from his second and current marriage. He saw to it that his four children pursued and received incredible educational opportunities, and he is very proud that all of them have distinguished themselves professionally. His eldest child is an artist and an editor in the film industry; his second is a college counselor and advocate for students; his third is a lawyer and professional leadership consultant; and his youngest is completing a doctorate in anthropology and has been a pianist from the age of 6. Dr. Gilliam's first wife even returned to complete a Ph.D. and his present wife of twenty eight years is an accomplished scientist, academic and a researcher with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania. Education and family have always been and continue to be important to Dr. Gilliam.
In recognition of outstanding contributions to his profession and to the Marquis Who's Who community, Dr. Gilliam has also been recognized as a Top Educator by Marquis Who's Who, and is appropriately being featured in this professional category with a biography of him there as well, and hence is therefore being honored by us at our Top Professionals website. More particularly for his dedication and service over the span of his entire life, for which he is a worthy recipient of this award for a lifetime of achievement, we are hereby honored to present this narrative of him on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website.
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