Agricultural engineer Walter A. Hill was born on August 9, 1946 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His mother was a school teacher, and his father, a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Hill’s high academic performance in high school earned him a scholarship to attend Lake Forest College in Illinois, where he received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1968. He continued his studies on a Ford Foundation fellowship at the University of Chicago, where he received his M.A. degree in chemistry in 1970. Hill went on to earn his M.S. in soil chemistry at the University of Arizona in 1973, and his Ph.D. degree in agronomy and environmental chemistry from the University of Illinois College of Agriculture in 1978.
Upon receiving his M.A. degree, Hill spent several years teaching chemistry and general science in the Chicago Public School system. Following the completion of his Ph.D. degree, Hill moved to Alabama to teach soil science at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). There, he encouraged his students to engage in research projects, and, in 1980, his teaching was honored when he was named a Danforth Associate. Hill has served in several positions at Tuskegee, including director of 1890 Land Grant Research and Extension Programs, the George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station, founder and director of the Carver Integrative Sustainability Center and project director of the Wal-Mart Foundation-sponsored Sustainable Agriculture Consortium for Historically Disadvantaged Farmers. In 2012, Hill was appointed dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment & Nutrition Sciences at Tuskegee University.
Hill has authored journal articles, books and academic conference proceedings on plant-environment relationships for sustainable agriculture and advanced life support systems, and on small and historically disadvantaged farmer and rural community development at. In 2008, he served as the co-editor of Access & Equity Issues in Agricultural & Rural Development. Hill has also been active in the local farming community. He is founder and co-leader of the Alabama Agricultural Land Grant Alliance, and the Black Belt Family Farm Fruit & Vegetable Marketing and Innovation Center. In 2001, he received an honorary doctorate from Lake Forest College.
Walter Andrew Hill was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 15, 2012.