Hill College Texas Heritage Museum opens new exhibit for its centennial anniversary

  Jessyca Brown
  Monday, September 18, 2023 10:02 AM
  Texas Heritage Museum

Hillsboro, TX

Old Hill College buildingIn celebration of the centennial anniversary of Hill College, the Texas Heritage Museum is featuring memorabilia from seven former students who were some of the first graduates of Hill Junior College.

Hill College Artifacts from the Texas Heritage Museum showcases items donated by alumni who attended the college between the 1920s and 1940s and is a testament to former students’ belief in the college and its importance to the community.

“We are proud to present an exhibit that showcases the early years of Hill Junior College from the 1920s through the 1940s. As you go through the exhibit, you will learn of Hill Junior College students who were athletes, scholars, and leaders, many of whom fought in WWII,” said John Versluis, executive director and chief curator of the museum.

Some of the featured artifacts include a football coaching jacket that belonged to Palma “Pug” Galiga, who was captain of the Hillsboro Junior College football team in 1927. He later became the coach of the football team in 1941, and after the suspension of football during World War II, he resumed as coach in 1945. After the college temporarily closed in 1950, Galiga went on to become superintendent of schools in Hillsboro. When discussions of reopening the college began in the late 1950s, he was one of the committee members recruited to support reopening. That committee was the driving force that allowed the college to open again in 1962.  

Also on display is a letter sweater from Jo Helms Rollins, who was the manager of the women’s basketball team in 1947, the year she graduated. In addition to her role as the team manager, Rollins was a member of the choral club, the pep squad, and a flag bearer for the band and drama club.

A pin from 1927 that was given to Margaret E. Frazier is featured. Frazier graduated in 1928 and was the president of the Junior Sesame Club, a member of the tennis club and the Cotton Stocking Club; she was also a yell leader and involved in orchestra. She was the editor of the Guiador, the college’s yearbook. Frazier’s father, A.M. Frazier, was a founding board member of the college and served as a trustee from 1923 to 1927.

Other items showcased include a golf trophy won by William R. Smith in 1947; a letter jacket that belonged to Robert William Prikyl Sr. from 1938; a state championship letter jacket from Cecil J. McFarland; and a letter jacket from Alvin James Carmichael.

Smith played in the Texas Open in San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 17. He went on to serve in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946 before attending Hill Junior College, where he won the Texas Junior College Golf Championship in 1947.

Prikyl attended the junior college in 1938. He played tennis, baseball, and football. In 1941, he was drafted as a field medic for the U.S. Army.

McFarland was a member of the 1937 Hill Junior College’s Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Football Championship team. The team won eight conference games and ultimately defeated Uvalde to win the title. McFarland was also on the basketball and track teams.

Carmichael attended the junior college from 1946 to 1949, playing football, basketball, and running track. He also played in the 1947 Texas Junior College Golf Championship with William R. Smith.

Laura Jean Kostohryz Matkin attended Hill College from 1946 to 1948. She was a guard on the women’s basketball team. Her team sweater is also on display.

A slideshow presentation is featured in the exhibit, showcasing photographs of the 119 Hill Junior College students (117 men and 2 women) who served in WWII, listing which branch of service they served in during WWII.

There are also several Hill Junior College yearbooks from the 1930s and 1940s on display for visitors to look through.

The exhibit will be on view through January 31, 2024.


Visitor Information

The Texas Heritage Museum is located at 112 Lamar Drive, Hillsboro, Texas, 76645. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Historical Research Center is open by appointment only. Please call 254.659.7750 for appointments and for more information about the museum.

The Texas Heritage Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.