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Arthur Hills dies, played formative role at Grand Valley

  • Arthur Hills instructs students

Posted on April 01, 2013

Arthur Hills, a pioneer professor and administrator at Grand Valley State University, died March 31 in Grand Rapids. He was 92.

Hills, a musician and music instructor, was Grand Valley’s first fine arts professor, a past academic officer, Secretary of the Board of Trustees and the composer of Grand Valley’s alma mater, “Hail to Thee Grand Valley.”

Hills began his career at Grand Valley as one of the original 14 faculty members in 1963. He served as a music professor when classes first began at what was then Grand Valley State College. The next year he was appointed assistant dean of the college and in 1966 he became associate dean of Academic Affairs. He also coordinated the college’s Teaching Preparation Program. In 1971, Hills was appointed vice president for Administration and chief academic officer and became founding director of the Performing Arts Center. In 1978 he became executive assistant to President Arend D. Lubbers and Secretary of the Board of Trustees, a position he held until his retirement in 1987.

“Art Hills contributed to the establishment of Grand Valley,” said Lubbers. “He influenced its academic development, and his positive spirit at the beginning contributed significantly to the way Grand Valley operates today. Working with Art for many years was a pleasure for me. To understand Grand Valley in its early years you have to be aware of Art Hills’ contributions.”

The Arthur C. Hills Living Center on the Allendale Campus is named for him, as is the Arthur C. Hills Music Scholarship and the Art Hills Spirit Award.

A memorial service will be held on campus later this spring.

Those wishing to make a gift to the Arthur C. Hills Music Scholarship at Grand Valley can call Grand Valley’s Development Office at (616) 331-6000 or visit

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