Howard Dudley to be named Pillar of the Community at Hill College 13th Annual Boots and Suits Gala

  Hill College
  Tuesday, March 27, 2018 3:53 PM
  General Events

Cleburne, TX

Hill College is hosting its 13th annual Boots and Suits Gala, 6 p.m., Friday, April 20, at the Cleburne Conference Center. In addition, Hill College will honor Howard Dudley with the Pillar of the Community Award for Cleburne. The award recognizes those who have helped build and sustain Hill and Johnson counties and supported the growth of Hill College throughout Hillsboro, Cleburne and Burleson areas.

Born in Ferrell, Miss., in 1933, Howard Dudley was the second of nine children of Annie Rudene and George Dewey Dudley. He attended college at North Texas State University in Denton, where he met and married Sherry Durrett. Howard worked for Climatic Air in Dallas until in 1961, when he purchased Technical Chemical Company, a small packing company in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas. In 1974, Howard purchased land near Dallas and built his first manufacturing plant. The business expanded to a 13-acre site and by the 1990s there were five buildings, totaling 117,000 square feet. In 1998, he built a plant in Cleburne, allowing the company an opportunity to add much more automation and production capacity. With this extra capacity, the company served several new accounts, which include DuPont, Honeywell, Castrol, Shell and Pennzoil, to name a few.

Dudley is a long-time member of the Johnson County Campus Advisory Committee, which advises Hill College leadership on matters relating to the campus in Johnson County. He was instrumental in the establishment of the state-of-the-art Hill College Cleburne Technical Center, which houses the welding program and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning program. Dudley also played a significant role in the establishment of the Snap-On building, which houses the automotive technology program.

What was formerly the Liberty Event Center in Cleburne is now Plaza Theatre Co. at Dudley Hall, named in recognition of Dudley, who built and renovated several downtown buildings including the former Liberty Event Center. 

Howard and Sherry live in Cleburne and have four children and many wonderful grandchildren. 

The Boots and Suits Gala will feature a live and silent auction, hors d'oeuvres provided by the Cleburne ISD culinary department, dinner by Flores BBQ of Whitney, bar service by West End Grill of Cleburne, dancing and live entertainment. This night of celebrating higher education and philanthropy will benefit the Hill College Testing Centers, the softball team and district-wide student scholarships for the coming academic year. Will and Betty Lowrance of Hillsboro and Lorri Dyess of Burleson will also be honored with Pillar of the Community Awards. 

Community support of the Boots and Suits Gala allows Hill College to strengthen its ability to lead students toward success. Each year, Hill College serves over 6,000 students as they each make the choice to advance their education through one of our academic, technical or continuing education programs. 

Individual tickets to the Hill College Boots and Suits Gala are $75 per person, while tables start at $600. For more information about the Gala, or to purchase tickets online, please visit, or contact Preston McReynolds, director of development, at

Howard Dudley