• Seniors honor Hillis with Collins Outstanding Professor Award

    David and William HillisFor the second year in a row, Baylor seniors have named a biology teacher as the university’s top professor. Last year, Dr. David Eldridge received the Collins Outstanding Professor Award; this year, the honor goes to Dr. William Hillis, the Cornelia Marschall Smith Distinguished Professor of Biology.

    That’s Hillis’ most recent title, but only one of the many roles he has played in his 30-plus years at Baylor. Hillis (pictured here with his son, Dr. David Hillis, BS ’80) started off as an undergraduate here, graduating at the top of his class in 1953 with a degree in chemistry. He went on to earn his M.D. at Johns Hopkins, where he later worked before coming to Baylor as chair of the biology department in 1981. Four years later, he was named executive vice president, and in 1989 took over the role of vice president for student life, which he held until returning to the classroom full-time in 1998.

    The Collins award is also only the most recent of Hillis’ many awards at Baylor. He was first named Baylor’s Outstanding Professor in 1985, and he was honored by the provosts’ office with the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award last spring. The Baylor Mortar Board has recognized Hillis with its Distinguished Professor Award three times, and Student Congress awarded him its Outstanding University Administrator Award in 1994.

    The Collins Outstanding Professor Award is a distinguished honor, given in the past to such beloved teachers as Dr. Randall O’Brien (1996), Dr. F. Ray Wilson (1997), Rachel Moore (1999) and Dr. Robert Packard (2001). Hillis’ name fits right in with such Baylor legends.

    Sic ’em, Dr. Hillis!