Lyda Hill

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Lyda Hill (born 1942) is an American heiress and philanthropist.

Early life[edit]

Lyda Hill was born on September 17, 1942 in Dallas, Texas. Her father was Albert Galatyn Hill, Sr. (1904-1988) and her mother, Margaret Hunt Hill (1915-2007). Her maternal grandfather was H.L. Hunt (1889-1974).

She attended the Hockaday School, an all-girl boarding school in Dallas, from 1952 to 1960. Former Hockaday Headmistress Jeanne Whitman said that Hill’s “tenure at Hockaday was marked by early acumen in mathematics and polite distaste for the classroom.”[1] She entered Stanford University in 1960, but soon left to attend Hollins University, a small liberal arts college for women in Virginia. She earned a degree in mathematics from Hollins in 1964 and received its Outstanding Alumnae Award in 2009.

Career[edit]

In 1967, she launched Hill World Travel, and in 1970 she became President of Seven Falls, a tourist attraction near Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1975, she joined the Young Presidents' Organization. Hill World Travel had become the largest travel agency in Dallas and one of the largest in the country when she sold it in 1982.

She continued her business activities in 1990 with a significant investment in the Fort Worth Stockyards, an historic and popular tourist area highlighting the city’s western heritage.

She developed and constructed the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center in Colorado Springs in 1995 - designed to be free to the public while generating revenue through its retail operation to assist in maintaining Garden of the Gods Park. In 2011, after the center had donated $1.6 million to the Garden of the Gods Foundation, Hill gave the Visitor Center to the Foundation.

She is a member of Charter 100, the Chief Executive Organization, the Citizens Council of Dallas, the Committee of 200, the Dallas Assembly, the International Women's Forum, the Philosophical Society of Texas, and the Young Presidents Organization.

Philanthropy[edit]

In 1982, she also became Chairwoman of the Crystal Charity Ball. She also became president of the Junior League of Dallas. In 1985, she created the Volunteer Connection, linking willing individuals with charities that needed volunteers and received the President’s Volunteer Action Award. The project was replicated in seventy cities across America. In 1985, she also received the Best of America Award. In 1988, the Governor of Texas named her “Outstanding Volunteer in Texas.”

She leveraged her interest in science and medicine to found a women’s breast care center and has funded and launched Remeditex Ventures, a venture capital fund focused on supporting and expediting development of promising biomedical products and therapies, while also providing aid in bringing them to commercial development.[2] She has also promoted science education. In 2010, she was instrumental in expanding the UTeach program, which prepares a new generation of math and science teachers, to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. In 2011, she donated $20 million in grants to her alma mater, The Hockaday School, to fund a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program.

She has served as Chairman of the World Presidents' Organization – Dallas, the Visiting Nurse Association, the Easter Seal Society for Children and the American Heart Association of Dallas and Texas. She has been a member of the Committee of 200, the Charter 100, the Chief Executive Organization, the International Women’s Forum, the Philosophical Society of Texas, the Dallas Assembly and the Citizens Council of Dallas. She is the President of LH Holdings and the Lyda Hill Foundation. She serves on the M.D. Anderson Board of Visitors, the Garden of the Gods Foundation and is the Endowment Fund Chairman of the Junior League of Dallas.[3]

In 2012, she took an interest in public radio, making a $1 million donation to local Dallas NPR affiliate, KERA (FM).[4] As a result, KERA has expanded its coverage of local news in addition to its staff. She also made a recent contribution to the development of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas to support the inspiration of young people in the field of petroleum engineering.[5] Most recently, she pledged $50 million to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Moon Shots Program, which aims to combat and eliminate cancer.[6] Her gift is the largest single private philanthropic contribution to date in support of the program. She supports our soldiers with grants of $2 million to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) so the school could establish a veteran trauma clinic[7] and development of mobile Warrior Training Teams at the Brain Performance Institute at the Center for Brain Health at UT Dallas.

Previously, she served on the Boards of the American Heart Association (as Chairman of the Dallas & Texas Chapters), the Arts Magnet High School, the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce (from 1985 to 1990), the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management, the President's Advisory Board for Private Sector Initiatives (from 1986 to 1989), the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, and the Women's Texas Golf Association (as President). She now serves on the Boards of Trustees of the Garden of the Gods Foundation, The Hockaday School, the Junior League of Dallas Endowment Fund (as Chairman), and on the Board of Visitors of M. D. Anderson.

The Lyda Hill Foundation supports increased understanding of nature and science. She has joined The Giving Pledge, begun by the Bill Gates Foundation, and has pledged to donate her entire wealth to charity, the bulk of it during her lifetime.[8]

She received the President's Volunteer Action Award and the Best of America Award in 1985. The following year, she received the Hockaday Distinguished Alumna Award, the Historical Society Award of Excellence, and she was named one of the Outstanding Volunteers from the Junior League in Richardson, Texas. She received the Governor's Award as Outstanding Volunteer in Texas in 1988, and the Betty Ford Award from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 1989. Three years later, in 1992, she received the Newsmaker of the Year Award and the Best Real Estate Development Award in Fort Worth, Texas. She received the Maura Award from the Dallas Woman's Center and the Headliners of the Year Award from Fort Worth Press Club in 1993. Two years later, she received the Outstanding Tourism Award and the Partnership for Community Design Award in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She received the Philanthropy Award from the Komen Foundation in 1996 and the Luminary Award for Philanthropic Innovator from the Committee of 200 in 1998. Additionally, she was named Outstanding Business Leader by Northwood University in 1999, received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Colorado in 2002, and the Outstanding Alumni Award from Leadership Dallas in 2004. She was named Fundraiser of the Year for Dallas by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2007. She also received the Life Achievement Award from the Volunteer Center of Dallas in 2008, and from the Junior League of Dallas in 2011. She received the Charles Cameron Sprague Community Service Award in 2012, an she was named Outstanding Philanthropist by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2013.[9][10]

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