HILL COLLEGE. From 1923 to 1950 Hillsboro Junior College, one of the earliest municipal junior colleges in Texas, operated in the same building as Hillsboro High School, in Hillsboro. The Hillsboro public school system had planned for separate buildings, but the high school had burned down on April 6, 1922, so the funds for the two schools were combined, and a three-story building on the site of the old high school building was erected. The junior college operated on the third floor. It opened with six faculty members and fifty-two students on September 10, 1923. In 1947 two temporary classroom buildings were added to the grounds for the junior college. In 1950 it closed for lack of funds.
In 1959 the Hillsboro Junior College charter was reactivated; a new junior college district, which included six school districts, was formed and voted to levy a tax to raise bonds for $450,000 to build a college plant. A board of regents was appointed, and the new college was named Hill Junior College. Classes opened in the national guard armory west of Hillsboro in September 1962 for 190 students.
A school site of seventy-three acres was purchased, and a building program began in 1963; that year the Academic Building was built; in 1965 came the Fine Arts building, the Student Center, and a Technology building, and in 1966 the Library building. In 1970 Mrs. John Griffith and her son donated a fifty-six-acre farm to the college. The main campus of Hill Junior College had twelve buildings, a baseball diamond, tennis courts, and a recreational area in 1984.
A Johnson County campus of Hill Junior College opened in 1971. It began in the national guard armory and in 1976 moved into two buildings near the armory. Including the Johnson County campus, the junior college had 102 employees in 1984. The average enrollment between 1978 and 1984 was 1,150. The budget for 1984–85 was over $1 million.
The Harold B. Simpson History Complex was established in 1963. The complex includes the Texas Heritage Museum (fomerly the Confederate Research Center), the Hill College Press, and the Texas Heritage Museum. The Texas Heritage Museum has a library of more than 5,000 volumes on the Civil War, plus another 3,000 on World War I and II The press makes Hill College the only junior college in Texas that publishes full-length books. The Texas Heritage Museum houses one of the finest weaponry libraries in the Southwest. Col. Harold B. Simpson was the founding director of the complex.
Hill College has had four presidents: W. Lamar Fly, 1962–67; O. B. Bailey, 1967–77; Elbert Hutchins, 1977–84; and William R. Auvenshine, 1984-. By the late 1980s the institution was called Hill College. Hill College had 153 faculty and 2,447 students in the fall of 1999.
Hill County Historical Commission, A History of Hill County, Texas, 1853–1980 (Waco: Texian, 1980). Fay M. Little, History of Hillsboro Junior College (M.A. thesis, Baylor University, 1964).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Harold B. Simpson, "Hill College," accessed May 25, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kch08.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 30, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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