Fred Hill Scholarship Salutes Pivotal Legislator
University Honors Retired Texas Representative's Public Service Legacy
Jan. 30, 2009
In recognition of a longtime UT Dallas supporter — both locally and throughout the state — University administrators on Thursday announced the creation of the Fred Hill Scholarship for Public Service.
Before his retirement in December, Hill served 20 years in the Texas House representing District 112. He was an avid supporter of the Richardson community and an enthusiastic advocate for the University.
“The Honorable Fred Hill is a true public servant to the great state of Texas, the city of Richardson and, of course, UT Dallas,” said Dr. David E. Daniel, president of UT Dallas. “He has left an indelible mark on the University, and we consider ourselves privileged that he worked on our behalf for so many years.”
Businesses such as AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Texas Instruments and the Texas Municipal League, and individuals such as Chuck Eisemann, among others, contributed to the scholarship.
The scholarship will provide financial assistance to full-time, undergraduate and graduate students majoring in political science, public affairs or public policy, and political economy in the University’s School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
Recipients will be chosen based on the characteristics Hill exemplified in office, including community leadership, dedication to education, and a strong desire to make Texas a better place for its citizens.
“Public service is important, and we need to take the time and energy to give more of ourselves in the community,” Hill said at the reception. “I am truly grateful to be here, and I thank you and appreciate the recognition and the establishment of this scholarship.”
Highlights of Hill’s relationship with the University have included:
- Passage of legislation that authorized UT Dallas to admit freshmen and sophomores. The University’s first freshman class — enrolled in fall 1990 — had only 100 students. Despite its size, that cohort’s achievements set the standard for future classes. In fall 2008, the average SAT score for entering freshmen — 1248 — was the highest among Texas public universities and among the top 20 for public universities nationally.
- Passage in 2008 of a student-proposed fee bill that supports the construction of a new student services building and provides free transit passes for students.
- The planning and eventual construction of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory (NSERL) Building. NSERL was born of one of the most significant and collaborative economic development projects ever supported by the state of Texas. The effort, named Project Emmitt, involved an innovative consortium of government, industry and educational institutions spearheaded by Texas Instruments, the State of Texas, The University of Texas System, UT Dallas, the city of Richardson, Collin County, Collin County Community College and the Plano Independent School District.
Hill also is an active proponent of the University’s Center for the Study of Texas Politics, which is headed by Greg Thielemann, a professor in the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences. The nonpartisan center was established to examine nuances of the state’s political process and is housed in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.
“There simply hasn’t been a more supportive member of the Legislature than Fred Hill,” Thielemann remarked. “He’s had a tremendous impact on this University. He gives every bit of his time and his office’s resources to make sure our students get an inside look at how the political process works. I know he’ll continue to be heavily involved with the University in the years to come.”
In addition to visiting the University for lectures and other special events, Hill regularly welcomed UT Dallas students to his office at the state Capitol and hosted events in their honor. He also routinely employed students or alums, either as staff or as interns.
Attended by students, faculty, staff and members of the community, the reception for Hill was held Thursday afternoon in the Galaxy Room at the Student Union. Special attendees included Sen. John Carona, who served in the House with Hill, and Richardson City Councilman and former Mayor Gary Slagel.
“Public service is important, and we need to take the time and energy to give more of ourselves in the community,” former Texas State Rep. Fred Hill said at a reception held in his honor. UT Dallas announced that a scholarship had been established in his name.
Well-wishers attending the reception included (from left) Greg Thielemann, a professor in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences; and Texas State Rep. Jerry Madden, who is also a UT Dallas alum.
Hill received enthusiastic help unwrapping a gift from his grandchildren.