Alumna Elizabeth Culbreth to Speak at Berea College Mid-Year Graduation

Elizabeth CulbrethM. Elizabeth Culbreth, former Director of the Office of Administrative Appeals for the United States Department of Labor, will speak at the Recognition Ceremony for Mid-Year Graduates on Sunday, December 11 at 3:00 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. The ceremony will be streamed at: https://livestream.com/accounts/5135608/events/6654941

Addressing the seniors who will have completed their degree requirements at the end of this term, Ms. Culbreth has based her remarks, “Where friendships are formed, fast and true,” on a refrain in Berea’s Alma Mater, Berea Beloved.

Culbreth is a dedicated Berean and public servant. She has served on Berea’s Board of Trustees since 1978, including six years as Chair. In 1984 she received the Berea College Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2012 she received the Alumni Loyalty Award.

After graduating from Berea College in 1964, Culbreth went on to receive her LL.B. Degree from Vanderbilt Law School and is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Tennessee, and the United States Supreme Court.

During her career, she has served as Staff Attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington DC, Staff Attorney for the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville, TN, Counsel for the United States Senate Select Committee on Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (Church Committee), Deputy Senate Legal Counsel for the United States Senate, before becoming Director of the Office of Administrative Appeals for United States Department of Labor. In addition to serving as a Trustee of Berea College, Culbreth also currently is a Trustee of the Pine Mountain Settlement School.

Culbreth’s accomplishments have garnered numerous awards and recognition including from the US Department of Labor, the JFK School of Government at Harvard University, and Who’s Who among American Women. Culbreth resides in Waynesville, NC with her husband John Vanderstar. 


Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College admits only academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally-recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly, earning money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.