maincurve UC Library MyUC iLearn Webmail Home
title Media Relations Home



Ronnie Biggerstaff Receives Leadership Award from University of the Cumberlands


Williamsburg, Ky. – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke to a crowded auditorium of over 3,000 University of the Cumberlands (UC) students, staff, and faculty, as well as friends from across the state of Kentucky, during the University’s 7th annual Forcht Group of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Leadership event on Tuesday, April 3rd. Held in the O. Wayne Rollins Center on the UC campus, Giuliani’s speech, “Principled Leadership in a Time of Crisis,” spoke on courage and the six principles of leadership; beliefs, optimism, courage, relentless preparation, teamwork and communication.

The Center, that sponsors internationally renowned speakers recognized for their character and leadership, provides a keynote speaker yearly at UC to help raise the visibility of the University’s values.

At this year’s program UC honored eight individuals who have been instrumental in demonstrating the essentials of exceptional leadership in a time of crisis. These individuals were chosen because they have shown extraordinary courage by responding with bravery during crisis and emergency situations or by showing compassion and generosity toward others.

Ronnie Biggerstaff was of the individuals that received a Principled Leadership Award for his commitment and motivation in providing outstanding service in response to crisis situations and his dedication to making the world a safer place to live.

Biggerstaff began his career for Blue Diamond Coal Company at the Scotia Mine. In 1976, after the Scotia Mine twin mine explosions, he became a member of the mine’s Rescue Team and embarked upon an ongoing 36 year mine rescue career.

After several years with the rescue team, he started serving as a trainer. During his service, Biggerstaff’s teams have helped with a variety of mine disasters and have won mine rescue competitions. His Alpha Natural Resources Black Mountain team won the 2011-2012 National Mines Rescue Championship in Columbus, OH, at which time he was inducted into the Columbus, OH National Mine Rescue Hall of Fame.

Biggerstaff has held a wide range of jobs during his career that include: various foreman positions, engineer, human resources manager, safety manager, shift mine foreman, and mine rescue coordinator. He has also operated as president for numerous organizations: The Mine Safety Institute of America, Safety Associations, Kentucky Mining Institute, and National Mine Rescue Associations in Kentucky and Virginia.

Currently, Biggerstaff works at Black Mountain Resources, an affiliate of Alpha Natural Resources, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Mining Institute and for Mine Rescue Organizations. He also acts on the National Mine Rescue Permanent Rules Committee and has helped direct mine safety training videos.

Biggerstaff resides in Whitesburg, KY and is married to Shelia Collins Biggerstaff. They have two daughters, Brandy Collins and Morgan Biggerstaff, and have one grandson, Sawyer Collins.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.