On Sunday, the University of Texas lost a great member of the family, Senior Vice President James Hill.
Unable to enroll at UT during segregation, he ultimately earned his master’s and PhD here, and, after rising through the ranks to become deputy commissioner at the Texas Education Agency and working in the private sector, he returned to UT, eventually becoming its first African-American vice president.
In 1993 he joined the UT administration as associate vice president for administration and public affairs. In 2000, Dr. Hill became vice president for community and school relations and oversaw the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the University Interscholastic League, Neighborhood Longhorns, Community and School Relations, University Outreach programs, and Pre-college Youth Development.
Dr. Hill facilitated our relationships with schools, school systems, and state agencies and was a leader in promoting diversity among students and faculty. He strengthened our relations with neighboring communities and minorities. In 2007, I appointed him senior vice president.
Dr. Hill’s dogged pursuit of achievement in the face of adversity inspires us and allows us to glimpse in a single lifetime just how far we’ve come as a university and a society.
My thoughts today are with his family and friends. I will miss him. We all will.