John Nathan Hill was born on November 19, 1947 in Boston, Georgia. His mother was a schoolteacher, his father a farmer and the first African American to own and operate a dry cleaner in Boston. In 1965, Hill earned his high school diploma from Magnolia High School in Thomasville. While a student, he participated in track team, glee club, band, Future Farmers of America and the 4-H club.
Hill excelled academically in his two years of undergraduate studies at Clark College in Atlanta (1965- 1967) and moved on to Mercer School of Pharmacy. While in pharmacy school, he interned at Grady Hospital in Atlanta but was drafted into the United States Army before completing his degree.
From 1969 until 1972, Hill served in Vietnam for the Army Security Agency Signal Corp. After his discharge, he earned his B.S. degree in biology and chemistry from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee in 1973.
In 1972, Hill started his fifteen-year career with Sears & Roebuck Company as a credit management trainee in Nashville. He became the first African American to serve in several management positions at the company including credit field representative in Memphis and credit sales and collections manager in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1987, Hill left Sears to work as national operations director for Discover Card. He served in a number of management positions at Discover until he became President and COO of Morgan Stanley / Discover Bank in 1994. In 2001, Hill transferred to Scotland and served as head of operations for Morgan Stanley’s International Consumer Banking Group, a position he kept until he retired in 2004.
Hill is a member of a number of professional banking and financial organizations including: the Delaware Bankers Association, American Bankers Association, American Bankers Council 2000, and the Advisory Board at the University of Delaware, School of Business.