Community Spotlight: Hill College Foundation President Lynn Gray

  Jessyca Brown
  Friday, February 17, 2023 10:17 AM
  General Events, Academics, Enrollment Management

Hillsboro, TX

Mr. Gray’s family has a long history with Hill College. His parents both attended Hillsboro Junior College in the 1920’s. His father was on the first Board of Regents for the reorganized college, Hill Junior College, which was established in 1962, until his death in 1970.

Mr. Gray received his associate’s degree from Hill College in 1966, and later went on to the University of Texas to receive his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1968. He then went on to join the National Guard and later joined the family business, Independent Oil Company—Dixie LP Gas.

He remained active with the college, running the clock for the basketball teams for nearly 30 years and was later elected to the Board of Regents in 1974 and served for 6 years.

In 1975, the Board of Regents set up the Hill Junior College Development Foundation to receive endowments for scholarships. In 1995, the Board of Regents set up the Hill College Development Foundation to grow and invest the funds that the Hill Junior College Development Foundation had raised. Mr. Gray has been president of the Hill College Development Foundation since 1995.

During his tenure, the foundation has built several funds. These funds—the Jerry Norton Wallace Fund, the Margaret Frazier Fund, the Bob Bullock Fund, and the Endowment—are strictly for scholarships and were provided by generous gifts from members of the community.

The foundation currently holds nearly 9 million dollars in liquid assets for the college, as well as over 1,200 acres of farmland in Hill and Ellis counties currently valued at over 6 million dollars.

The primary purpose of the foundation is fiduciary accountability—growing and responsibly managing funds for the college.

Mr. Gray also serves on Hill College President Dr. Thomas Mill’s transition and integration team. Hill College is one of the top employers in Hillsboro and is a huge asset to the community, academically and athletically. He states, “the sports programs provide an activity for students to attend even if they aren’t athletes. It’s an important part of campus social life.”

When thinking back on his time as a student at Hill College, Mr. Gray recalls two teachers that made a difference in his academic career. Colonel Simpson, a World War II veteran, was one of Mr. Gray’s history teachers. He recalls how the “Colonel,” as he was known by students, would always bring notes with him to class, but instead of sitting at a desk or behind a lectern, he would walk back and forth engaging the students and making them feel like they were there, experiencing the events he taught.

He also recalls his English professor, Patricia Nixon’s former secretary, Grace Beam Smith, who mentored him outside of class. The mutual respect they had for each other, he said, is a testament to the professor/student relationships that are built at Hill College.

Mr. Gray met his wife of 55 years, Carolyn Pool Gray, when she spent the summer with her uncle and aunt, John and Gail Pool, both of whom were Hill College professors.

Mr. Gray has been a dedicated supporter of Hill College most of his life, including being a Charter Member of the Century Club, as well as supporting the Performing Arts Series and the Texas Heritage Museum.

Both his children, Christi and Chad, as well as his grandchildren, have either attended Hill College or completed the dual credit program offered through the college.

In 1991, he was recognized with the Hill College Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2017, Mr. Gray was awarded the Hill College Pillar of the Community Award at the annual Boots and Suits Gala.

Mr. Gray credits the college with building a higher education model in a rural community. The foundation has supported and helped build the college to what it is today. The members of the foundation enjoy what the college and campus have become and hold responsibility for that and maintaining it.

To make a gift to the Hill College Development Foundation, contact Jessyca Brown at 254.659.7504 or