Texas Panhandle Oil, Wind Power and Beef
The Hill Institute Logo

The Hill Institute , approved by The Texas A&M University System as an interdisciplinary academy of researchers, teachers, and students, was established by the Board of Regents on February 17, 2022. The Institute was named in recognition of Joseph Abner Hill, the second and longest serving President of West Texas Normal College. An argument could be made that Hill did more to advance West Texas A&M University as a place of study and the Panhandle as a place of abiding principles and powerful cultural perspectives than any other president in University history. He lived by a deeply held set of timeless values. He sought to impress upon the students, faculty, and staff of WT the importance of personal responsibility and self-reliance. He heralded those concepts repeatedly in his work and in One Man’s Faith, a record of his speeches preserved by the West Texas State College Press in 1954. Dr. Hill was earnestly steadfast in his belief regarding the importance of Judeo-Christian values in a free society. In addition, he practiced the values of the United States of America and the state of Texas and, without apology, pronounced the durability of the founding values of our nation. For these reasons and others, The Hill Institute intends to stimulate thought about the role of such values in addressing the human condition and how such values impact the Panhandle and the world.

Dr. Joseph A. Hill portrait

The Institute was named in recognition of Dr. Joseph Abner Hill, the second and longest serving President of West Texas Normal College.

Watch the One West Hill Institute Announcement

October 4, 2023 | Fairly Group Club, Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium

Mission Statement

The Panhandle is a unique place in Texas and on the Great Plains of the United States of America, a vital linchpin of regions, cultures, and ideas. The geography and history of the place and its contribution to the production of food, fuel, and fiber have created a unique mix of values and mores that are responsive to our nation’s founding truths and principles. Many forces have influenced the expression of these values and, if nurtured correctly, the best of these can be carried forward for future generations. West Texas A&M University has been the Panhandle educational institution since 1910, and for 30 years was led by President Joseph A. Hill. A remarkable man by many accounts and an historian by academic discipline, Dr. Hill understood history’s importance, its influence on the present, and the formative force of the past for a positive future. The gist of his thinking is revealed in his writings and divulges a love for the deep-seated values of our founders and the significance of such values to guide and govern educational aspirations, our state, and our nation.

The mission of The Hill Institute (The Institute) is to encourage reflection upon the importance of these values and, through study and scholarship, promulgate them among students within the diverse disciplines of the University and within the extended community. Ten values are identified as starting points to guide the work of The Institute as it embarks on a voyage into the future:

  1. Trust and its importance in sustaining a republican form of government supporting a well-functioning culture;
  2. Family life and family business and economic prosperity and its contribution to a strong moral and social order;
  3. Hard work and persistence as an overriding commitment to sustaining an open and free society that expounds the virtue of liberty;
  4. Regard for others and social groupings as the empowering complement of citizenship and the power of the golden rule in civil society;
  5. Personal responsibility and free will as concepts that drive prosperity and liberty for a productive end;
  6. Compatriotism and Patriotism as love of country and its importance in sustaining civil order in a free and open society;
  7. Exercise of virtue, publicly and privately, as fertile ground for personal growth and realization of aspirations;
  8. The free and open exercise of faith, in recognition of natural law, as an inarguable right of every human being, and the historic relationship of personal belief in a thoughtfully guided moral order;
  9. Personal and civic loyalty, the power of belonging to something larger than self, and the role of that membership in nourishing a free and open republic;
  10. The singular importance and nobility of rugged individualism— standing on one’s “own two feet” in a performance culture—and the contribution self-sufficiency makes to the effective functioning of our families, towns, region, State, and the nation.
Dr. Joseph A. Hill on the steps of Old Main

Ultimately, the goal is to have the work of scholars impact every profession and area of study represented on WT’s campus through the firmly held and highly esteemed values of The Institute . A challenge in contemporary higher education is the retreat of disciplines into silos with little common ground from which to produce engaged citizens. The Institute will illuminate the founding values of our nation as embodied in our region as a means of cementing intellectual processes to make the world a better place to live.

The Hill Institute