Dr. Oliver Hill Jr., a longtime psychology professor at Virginia State University and the son of civil rights attorney Oliver Hill, died this week. He was 70.
The Richmond native died in the city on July 7. Virginia State University remembered Dr. Hill, who was a part of the university for over 30 years, in a statement released Thursday.
“Our Trojan Family is very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Dr. Oliver Hill, Jr. Dr Hill was a valued member of our VSU Family for more than three decades. He was a great man and a nationally renowned professor, researcher, and scientist,” the statement read.
When Ishmail Conway learned of his longtime friend’s death he was in tears. He’s known Hill Jr. since 1955, as the two grew up together. The two went to Jr. primary school together in Richmond’s North Side.
“And all I could say was thank you for being my boy,” said Conway, who worked alongside Hill Jr. as the chair of the mass communications department at Virginia State University.
Conway remembers his friend as a family man to the highest degree. Hill Jr. took care of his father, Oliver Hill Sr. before he passed away.”He was a zen. He was a sage,” said Conway.
Hill Jr.’s impact goes far beyond his home. He was a noted professor, researcher and scientist.
“We’ve lost a great voice that cared so deeply for decades,” said Conway.
Hill Jr. was among a group that lead the way in developing the first Ph.D. program at Virginia State University. He was a major component in the creation of the health psychology program.
“We were very saddened to have him retire. We would’ve wished for Dr. Oliver Hill Jr. to stay on campus forever. He was one of the most beloved faculty members here at VSU. We will greatly miss him,” said Virginia State University President Makola Abdullah.
Abdullah informed his staff and alumni of Hill Jr.’s death.
“The campus is grieving,” said Abdullah.
This is a sentiment shared by many others who know him best. Board members on the Oliver White Hill foundation are expressing their sadness and devastation on social media.
“While there may never be a monument built to Oliver Hill Jr., He was a historical giant,” said Conway.