Take a walk down Stirling Street and you'll find a neat little spot nestled inside UNC Greensboro's Bryan School of Business and Economics. A small courtyard, resplendent with blooming trees, azalea bushes and other flowers, offers a quiet place for students to relax between classes or study at teakwood picnic tables. Affixed to one wall is a plaque that says the space is the Van Hoy Hill Courtyard, named after an alumna and her husband. The simple dedication, however, only scratches the surface of this dedicated couple's generosity.
Margaret Carolyn Van Hoy arrived at Woman's College in 1938 intending to pursue teaching, but a different opportunity soon caught her interest. She joined the Secretarial Science Department, graduating in 1942 with a degree in secretarial administration. She began working for NC Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington, and in 1943, she married Harrell Hill, a Reidsville native and graduate of UNC Chapel Hill.
Harrell's career with Western Electric Companythe manufacturing arm of what is today AT&Ttook the couple to Chicago, Kansas City and New York. While he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming vice president of finance, Margaret volunteered at local hospitals, libraries, and art galleries. When Harrell retired in 1980, the couple returned to North Carolina, settling in Winston-Salem.
Retirement, however, didn't slow them down. Harrell shared his vast business expertise as a volunteer for various groups, and Margaret worked with numerous community organizations. They also served their respective alma maters, becoming steadfast representatives of their classes and foundational figures in the institutions' growth.
In 1999, during UNCG's Second Century Campaign, in recognition of the foundational education Margaret received and the ever-evolving needs of her alma mater, the Hills made a gift that touched lives across the campus. The Harrel Hill and Margaret C. Hill Annuity Fund was divided between four areas: Chancellor's New Venture Fund, Provost Office, Jackson Library, and the Bryan School of Business and Economics. From research support and professional development opportunities for exemplary staff, to educational support and emergency funds for students, their generosity helped propel the university into the next century.
The Hills continued to support UNCG during the new millennium, providing resources for student success, garden renovations and program enrichment. When Harrell died in 2007, Margaret established the Margaret and Harrell Hill Distinguished Professorship in Business, in loving memory of him and his distinguished career. The professorship ensures the best faculty members mentor and train future business and finance leaders.
Although the Hills are no longer with us, the effect of their boundless generosity lingers to this day. Looking out from the courtyard, students, staff, and visitors can observe sections of our ever-expanding campusa subtle but poignant reminder of how one couple touched and transformed many parts of our university.