Alumni & Friends

Recognition Awards

Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award


Jean Hill

Class of 1944

Jean HillJean Hill of Arkansas City has spent most of her life in education. Hill plans to retire in June after 36 1/2 years as secretary to the superintendent of Arkansas City public schools.


Hill, who was born in Topeka and grew up in Emporia, is a 1944 graduate of then Arkansas City Junior College. After graduating from Emporia High School in 1942, Hill moved to Arkansas City when her father was transferred by the Santa Fe Railroad. She had planned on attending Kansas State University or the University of Kansas.


“I had taken some college classes at Emporia and when I came down here I went to Arkansas City Junior College,” Hill said. “After my first semester in 1942 I dropped out and went to work at Strother Field. That next summer I went back to the junior college and transferred to Oklahoma A&M after graduating.”


She received her bachelor’s degree in secretarial administration and went to work for Continental Oil, now Conoco, in Ponca City. Wedding bells rang in 1948 as she and her husband, Bill, a native of Arkansas City, were married.


Had Oklahoma A&M, under coach Hank Iba, not won the national basketball championship in 1946, the Hills might not have ever met. “They had a big dance after they won the championship and some friends introduced me to Bill through one of his friends and that was it,” Jean Hill said.


The Hills lived in Davenport, Iowa, from August 1949 to the fall of 1953, when they moved back to Arkansas City. Jean worked various jobs until Feb. 1, 1958, when she went to work for the public school system. She has held the same job for 3 1/2 decades. “Superintendent (Jean) Snell is number six for me,” she said.


Since she has worked full-time since 1958, Jean’s involvement in community activities has been limited. However, she served on the Head Start board seven years, was Unified School District No. 470’s representative to The United Way, and belongs to several social organizations. She also is active in her church choir.


Hill said her experience at Cowley was valuable as all her classes transferred.

“I do think there is an advantage to go to a community college at least a year before going to a four-year college,” she said.


She was surprised to be named one of this year’s outstanding alumni.

“I’m flattered and very honored,” she said. “I’m sure there are others more deserving. I was surprised and delighted, and I’m in good company.”