A Winchester woman who fell in love with Shenandoah University has endowed $1.7 million to benefit its theater students.
The Clarence H. and Gladys C. Hill Scholarship Fund will be used for students studying theater at Shenandoah. The fund was created from the final distribution of a trust that was created in 1995 by Gladys C. “Hap” Hill, a longtime friend and supporter of the university. Hill died in 2000. Her husband passed away in 1980.
The trust document states that the funds are to be used to establish a permanently restricted scholarship endowment for the benefit of theater students.
This truly incredible gift of Gladys C. ‘Hap’ Hill will benefit theater students for years to come and will further elevate Shenandoah Conservatory’s reputation as one of the premier theater schools in the country. We are forever grateful to Gladys for her contribution to Shenandoah. Her generosity will leave a legacy of opportunity and artistry for generations to come.”
Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
The Hills, originally from North Carolina, moved to Winchester in 1947. Clarence Hill served as director of the Winchester Fruit Research Laboratory, later known as the Alson H. Smith Jr., Agricultural Research and Extension Center. He earned his doctorate in entomology and was a professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University beginning in 1946. Gladys “Hap” Hill was in the real estate business and served as a secretary for U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. She was an active member in garden clubs, Quota International, the Blue Ridge Fine Arts League and Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The couple loved theater and had a special fondness and respect for Harold Herman, distinguished professor emeritus of theatre and Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) founder and artistic director emeritus. Under Herman’s 31 years of leadership, SSMT mounted 124 productions. Herman died in 2016 at age 83.
The fund will be managed as part of the overall endowment of the institution. All scholarship awards will be made from recommendations received from the dean of the conservatory after consultation with the heads of the various theater departments, and under the direction of the financial aid office or at the discretion of the president of the university.
Any individual or organization may add to this fund at any time through direct gifts, properties, securities, trusts or bequests in order to enhance the number and size of the awards being made.
Gladys ‘Hap’ Hill’s trust is thoughtful estate planning that any supporter of Shenandoah can do to benefit the university. We hope others will consider similar planning to enhance the academic opportunities that Shenandoah offers.”
Mitch Moore | Senior Vice President, Vice President for Advancement of Shenandoah