The Hill School- The Family Boarding School

The Founders Hall

Founders Hall A - F Founders Hall G - N Founders Hall O - Z

Jimmy Gillison '29

Jimmy Gillison arrived at The Hill School in the fall of 1924 as a second former.  He was a starting member of the football, basketball and baseball teams even though he was never able to be a sixth former. On July 22, 1928, Jimmy and a friend were driving in a car near Jimmy's home on Long Island when the steering wheel came off in the driver's hand. They crashed into a pole, and Jimmy was killed. His aunt, who was his legal guardian, gave the funds for building Gillison Court in Jimmy's memory. At the dedication of the Gillison Court the following words were spoken. "Besides being a commendable student while at the School, Jimmy was a member of the boards of the three publications, end on the football team, pitcher on the baseball team, guard in basketball; for three years school boxing champion, member of the form hockey team, president of 'DRAMAT' and treasurer of the Press Club. Beginning in fourth form, he was a member of the cooperative government committee and also interested in many other extracurricular activities. A most commendable record." After Jimmy's death, Mr. Denman, a faculty member, wrote the following words to his aunt: "Words are a poor medium to express what is in one's heart, or to bring comfort to another's when in trouble; yet I thought it might help you all to know how much we admired the boy and how greatly we shall miss him." In June, 1929, Jimmy Gillison posthumously was awarded a Hill School diploma.

Sam Horner '56

Sam Horner was a key member of the undefeated 1955 football team as the team's top ball carrier.In the pool, he captained the 1955-1956 team that finished with a 9-1 record, losing only the Yale freshman team. He swam on the record-setting 200 free relay and was the 50 free champion at Easterns that year. He was elected as captain of the 1956 golf team but was unable to play, so he ran track. After graduating from The Hill he went on to play collegiately at the Virginia Military Institute. In 1958, he was on the All-Southern Team and All-American team having been fifth in the nation with six yards per carry, and also ranked fifth in the nation with 42.5 yards per kick. Sam then embarked on a three year professional football career becoming the first Hill alumnus to play in a professional sports league. He played for the Washington Redskins in 1960 & 1961 as a running back, defensive back, punter, and kick returner. In 1962, he was traded to the New York Giants where he was a backup defensive back and returned kicks-offs and punts. When he retired from the NFL, he went back to the University of Georgia Veterinary School and earned a DVM degree. He practiced Equine Medicine and Surgery for 40 years in the Atlanta, Ga. area until his retirement in 2008. Sam was inducted into the VMI Sports Hall of Fame in 1973, and in 2000 he was the Georgia Equine Veterinarian of the Year.

Lamar Hunt '51

Lamar Hunt was named one of ESPN’s top 12 global sports promoters of all time, and arguably could be considered the top sports promoter in the United States. A Dallas, Tex. native, Hunt began approaching the National Football League in the late 1950s with the intention of establishing a team in Dallas. Frustrated by multiple rejections, he organized a group of other prospective owners and established the American Football League as a rival to the NFL in 1960 and formed the Dallas Texans. The Dallas Cowboys entered the NFL the same year and continually drew attention from the Texans. In 1963, Hunt moved the team to Kansas City and renamed it the Chiefs. When the AFL and NFL decided to have their respective league champions play each other in a decisive championship game, it was Lamar who came up with the name of “Super Bowl” for the game. The two leagues merged into one in 1970 and changed their respective names to American and National Football Conference, and the AFC championship trophy was named after Lamar. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1972, one of seven major sports halls of fame that he is a member of. He also was responsible for the formation of the North American Soccer League, which existed from 1967-84 and attracted international superstars such as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and George Best to the United States, as well as World Championship Tennis, a pro tennis circuit that ran from 1967-89. He also was a founder of the currently successful Major League Soccer in 1996, and owned the Kansas City Wizards team (currently known as Sporting KC). In 1999, the US Open Cup, a knockout style tournament formed in 1914 that is open to all of the professional soccer teams in America, was renamed the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

David Mercer

If any name is synonymous with Hill Athletics, it is David H. Mercer. He arrived at The Hill as the Assistant Director of Physical Education in 1948, and for 12 years worked to enhance the school’s physical education program, as it was separate from interscholastic athletics at the time. He became the Athletic Director in 1960, serving in that capacity until 1990. Hill athletics flourished under his guidance. During his time as AD, lacrosse became a varsity sport, and skiing and water polo were added as interscholastic sports (skiing disbanded in the mid-1990s), and facility improvements included the construction of the Bissell Wrestling Room, Annan Strength Center, and the replacement of the old cinder track with an all-weather track in the early 1980s. Despite his interest and involvement in athletics, David was never a head varsity coach, saying he felt that it would compromise his position as the A.D., though he was an assistant football and track coach and served as the head coach of many junior varsity and junior teams. He remained involved in Hill athletics even after his retirement from the school, often serving as the head timer at track meets. Upon his retirement, former Headmaster Chuck Watson noted that wherever he traveled, David’s name was mentioned by alumnus after alumnus, a true testament to the impact he had on more than 6300 boys to pass through The Hill.

Alberto Mestre '82

Alberto Mestre became the first person in School history to participate in the  Olympics while currently being student at The Hill.  He represented Venezuela in the 1980 Olympics following his fourth form year while he was only 15 years old.  He had a major impact on the swimming program in the early 1980s.  Alberto swam on the Eastern Interscholastic Champion 400 freestyle relay in 1980, and in 1981 and ’82 claimed the 100 yard freestyle championship.  He set school records in the 50, 100, and 200 yard freestyle, swam on the record-setting 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays, and still has Hill’s pool record for the 100 yard freestyle, which has withstood the test of time despite numerous visits from national powers such as Mercersburg, Peddie, and Germantown Academy.  After graduating from The Hill, Alberto went on to swim for the University of Florida, where he was a member of 1983 and 1984 NCAA Men’s Swimming National Championship teams and 1985 NCAA runners-up. In 1983, he was member of American/NCAA record setting 800 free relay and the NCAA Champion 400 free relay.  At the 1983 Pan-Am Games, he won a silver medal in the 200 meter freestyle and a bronze medal in the 100 meter freestyle.  In 1984, he swam on the relay that re-set its own 800 free NCAA record, and individually placed second in the 100 free and fifth in the 200 free.  He again represented Venezuela in the 1984 Olympics, where he was the youngest finalist in the 200 meter freestyle, finishing in fourth.  Alberto currently is a senior executive for Venezuelan Olympic Swimming.

Tom Northrup '64

Tom Northrup was not on the losing end of very many athletic contests during his two years at The Hill.  The cross country team went undefeated both years, and the basketball team's record over his two seasons as a team member was 30-4, including a perfect 17-0 in 1963-64; no basketball team has gone undefeated since.  Tom served as team captain of both the undefeated cross country and basketball teams in his sixth form year.  He also set records in all three sports in which he participated at The Hill: he set the cross country school record with a time of 11:46, and then re-set it at 11:40; he led the basketball team with 305 points in 1962-63 and set a single-game record of 37 points, and set a new single-season scoring record with 372 the following season; and on the track he set the 880 yard run record with a time of 1:55.7.  He received the Wilbur C. Riley Memorial Award for outstanding leadership and high sportsmanship in competitive athletics at the 1964 commencement ceremony.  He went on to play intercollegiate basketball at the University of Pennsylvania, earning letters every year and captaining the team his senior year. He twice was named to the "Honorable mention All-Ivy" team.  He began a long career in education at Chestnut Hill Academy, where he was the head varsity basketball coach from 1968-1980.  After departing CHA, he became the  Headmaster of the (other) Hill School in Middleburg, Va. It came as no surprise to his classmates that he chose to dedicate his life's work to the education and the future promise of youth. Tom remained involved with The Hill throughout his career, most recently returning to pay tribute to long-time basketball coach Don Ronnie, and he also organized a memorial service for former Hill faculty member Bonnell Gardner '64.

Founders Hall A - F Founders Hall G - N Founders Hall O - Z

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