University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries
University of Georgia Libraries

From Ahmedunggar to Lavonia:
Presidents at the University of Georgia 1785-1997

Walter B. Hill



Born September 9, 1851, Talbotton, GA; Died December 28, 1905, Athens, GA. A.B. (1870), M.A. (1871), B.L. (1871), University of Georgia.

image of Walter B. Hill

Hill practiced law in his father's Macon firm from 1871-1899 when he accepted the President's post at UGA. He was one of the founders of the Georgia Bar Association and was active in the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Hill, a man of strong conviction and an ardent Prohibitionist, advocated collective bargaining for workers and defended blacks' rights to education in a 1884 article in Century Magazine.


Because of his ties with Mercer and Emory, Hill was able to coopt those denominationalists who had formerly been at odds with University interests. Since he ably lobbied for increased state financial support for all aspects of education at the State University, agrarian interests were placated as well. The University's budget was $40,000 ($8,000 in state funds) in 1899. Hill was able to encourage the state legislature to appropriate $151,000 between 1900 and 1905. His comprehensive plan for the modernization of the University included laying the foundations for the College of Agriculture and the College of Education, expanding the law curriculum from one to two years, establishing a School of Pharmacy (1903), and preparing for the School of Forestry (1906). His work with private donors was enhanced with the first visit of George Foster Peabody to the campus in 1902. He spoke nationally on the importance of federal funding for education. This schedule of dynamic work proved to be too much of a burden; Hill contracted pneumonia and died in December of 1905.


Denmark Hall (1901); Peabody Library (1905); Science Hall/Terrell Hall (1897/1904); Candler Hall (1902); Meigs (originally, LeConte) Hall (1905).


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